April 3, 2014

By Brian Babcock

Hearing those words will send a chill through anybody’s heart. So, the first thing to do is to look at the papers you are handed. Very quickly you should be able to tell:

  • What court you are being sued in
  • What you are being sued for
  • Who is suing you
  • Who their lawyer is (if they have one).

As your pulse returns to normal, the fine print will tell you how long you have to respond.

If you cannot locate or understand this basic information, you should go to a lawyer as soon as possible. Missing deadlines or not taking the first steps to respond properly can put you behind the eight ball from day one, and possibly even result in losing a winning case, or spending a lot more money to fix mistakes.

Whether before or after you speak to a lawyer, you should always ask yourself if you might have insurance for this lawsuit. Business lawsuits might be covered by a commercial general liability policy; an errors and omissions policy; a directors and officers liability policy, or other special forms of insurance. Homeowners coverage usually contains broad personal protection than many people never realize they have. Clients may overlook available coverage until it is too late – insurance policies require that the insurer be informed promptly of the claim.

A lawyer can also explain the deadlines you face; the steps that will be required; and provide information about the cost, time and risks involved.

If you cannot afford legal representation, or decide to represent yourself, the investment in some initial legal advice will be of great benefit to you.

You would not do your own brain surgery, why would you want to try to be your own lawyer?

We believe that legal representation is a tremendous value – not only because of the savings from better results, but because the reassurance of having a professional take the stress off your shoulders brings peace of mind which is priceless.