"Oh my gosh, I've been sued. What should I do now?" For businesses and individuals fortunate enough to have never asked this question, the answer is fairly simple.
- Consult an attorney immediately. A defendant typically has 20 or 30 days to file a response to a lawsuit after they are served with the lawsuit papers. Failure to retain an attorney promptly and/or failure to file a timely response to the lawsuit can lead to a "default judgment" being entered against you and/or your business.
- Notify your insurers. Unless you are positive none of your insurance policies could apply to the lawsuit, you should generally notify your insurers of the lawsuit as soon as possible. Your insurers might have a duty to hire a lawyer to defend you and/or your business, and they also might have a duty to pay any resulting judgment if the plaintiff prevails.
- Preserve your evidence. Once you have been sued, it is imperative that you preserve all documents, emails, text messages, and any other tangible items related to the dispute. If there are others (employees, for example) who possess relevant documents, emails or text messages related to the dispute, instruct them to avoid destroying/deleting them.
If you follow the above, you will put yourself and/or your business in a good position to respond to the lawsuit and move forward with litigation. While following these 3 steps won't guarantee victory, it's a step in the right direction.Photo Copyright: kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo