Are you in the unenviable position of facing a possible lawsuit? If you find yourself in such a quandary, it’s important to take the right steps. There are also a number of actions that are equally important not to make the mistake of committing. Here are a few handy tips on what to do if you are facing a suit.
Don’t Respond Right Away
No law says that you need to respond immediately to a lawsuit or lawsuit threat. You are given an officially stipulated number of days to prepare a response to a lawsuit. You will also have the right to file an Answer or move to file a Motion to Dismiss. This latter may be your best move.
In many cases, the threat of a lawsuit is one that the other party is simply using for leverage. They want you to panic so that you will cave in and give them whatever they want. But you don’t have to take this bait. Your best bet is to do nothing until you get sound legal advice from a qualified attorney.
Don’t Talk to Anyone But Your Lawyer
As soon as you receive your lawsuit threat, you need to lawyer up. You can call on the services of the professional license attorney Sacramento business owners rely on in their time of greatest need. Once you have retained a lawyer, this will be the person that you can speak to regarding your case.
There are several people, such as your spouse, priest, rabbi, or therapist, that you can count on for confidentiality. But if you really want to keep this case as airtight as possible, it’s best not to speak even to them about the case. This will definitely be the kind of situation in which loose lips do sink ships.
Keep Your Evidence Safe
Make sure to keep and store safely all of the evidence that you have that may be pertinent to the case. You may need to make copies of certain records just so you can produce them on demand if the originals are lost. Don’t make any kind of alterations to any of these records. Keep them all in one place and number them for reference.
If the court demands to see these records, you have to turn them over. Make sure that you provide absolutely all of the evidence that the court may ask for. You may make a motion that some of this info be kept confidential. If you do, it will be up to the court to make that determination and you must abide by its final decision.
Notify Your Insurance
If it turns out you are being sued, you are legally obligated to notify your insurance company that legal action has been instigated against you. If you fail to notify them on time so that their exposure can be limited, you may risk being dropped. This is crucial since you want to make sure that you retain your coverage during this time.
Listen to Your Lawyer
When you receive a threat of legal action, you may want to take action on your own. You may want to respond with an angry letter or email. This would be a huge error. Don’t give the person who is threatening you more ammo that they can use against you in a court of law. Instead, stay calm and listen to the counsel of your lawyer.
Just because someone threatens to sue doesn’t guarantee that they will actually follow through. It may be a good idea to wait a couple of days to let cooler heads prevail. At that point, your lawyer may be able to mediate a settlement of some kind that will help you avoid a lawsuit.
Don’t Let a Lawsuit Threat Panic You
When someone threatens to sue you, this doesn’t automatically give them control of the situation. You have rights that must be observed. Your best bet in a situation of this type will be to call on the professional aid and counsel of a qualified attorney. This will give you the solid legal backing you need to face down or defuse this threat.
Author information: Lizzie Howard is a Colorado native who after graduating from the University of Colorado spends her time as a freelance writer. When Lizzie isn’t writing, she enjoys going on hikes, baking for her friends and family, and spending time with her beloved yellow lab, Sparky.