You’re preparing a meal for your family and there’s a knock at the door. You answer and a Sheriff’s Deputy is standing there with paperwork. Scared to death that someone is hurt or there’s an emergency, you excitedly open the door. “I just need to serve you with these papers” he says and he asks for your signature. Now you are thinking, “I got sued!”
This happens to thousands of people every day and it’s definitely a scary experience. How you respond after being served is critical. There are time-sensitive deadlines and failing to respond in writing to the lawsuit timely can result in a default judgment being entered against you. A judgment can affect your credit and result in the Sheriff seizing or selling your assets to satisfy the judgment.
First, you need to immediately schedule an appointment with an attorney and let them know when you schedule the appointment the specific date you were served. Prior to attending the appointment, collect all documentation and information that could possibly relevant to your case and bring that with you to the meeting with your attorney. Also, it can be helpful to draft a letter or summary explaining in your own words what lead up to the lawsuit. A timeline of events is also very helpful. Your attorney and his or her team will know nothing about your case and will have a limited amount of time to get caught up to speed before having to file a response to the lawsuit on your behalf.
Lawsuits take varying amounts of time to complete. It’s not uncommon for a case to take a year or more to reach the final court date. However, most cases settle prior to court through mediation or other settlement negotiations. You should consider the high costs of litigation in evaluating what you might be willing to do to settle the case with the other party.
Some other things to remember:
- Be patient with the process. It usually takes much longer than most people want.
- Prepare to pay attorney fees and litigation costs. The longer the case takes, the more it will cost.
- Keep good records. Your attorney will rely on you for all documents prior to the lawsuit and you should keep your own file throughout the case.
- Tell your attorney everything. He or she cannot help you unless they know all the details, including things that are harmful to your case.
If you’ve been served with a lawsuit, contact the attorneys of King Law. Call 888-748-KING (5464) to schedule your appointment. Our team is located throughout the Carolinas from Greer, Spartanburg, Gaffney to Hickory, Asheville, and many towns in between. Click on the state name for a full list of our locations by state:
For more information on civil lawsuits, check out our free civil law e-book.