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Help! I’m being Sued!

So, you’ve been sued. Someone thinks you have done something wrong, and they have hired a lawyer.

You have in your hands a complaint and summons, and you’re trying to figure out what to do next. This can be a scary prospect, and it’s definitely not like in the movies. Take a deep breath and know that we are here to help. We’ve made a list of steps you should take if you are being sued. It’s important that you proceed with caution to protect your legal rights. These steps are important, but it’s more important to find a lawyer who is qualified and experienced to represent you both in and out of court.

Here are the first 8 things you should do if you’re being sued in the state of Virginia or in any state.

1. Take it seriously, but do not panic. And most importantly, do not ignore it!

Read the “Summons” and “Complaint” and know your deadline to respond, who is suing, and why. This is an important first step. The “Complaint” is a document initiating and detailing a lawsuit. The “Summons,” meanwhile, will direct you to file a response to the Complaint within a fixed amount of time. Do you have any doubts about whether the lawsuit is legitimate? Make sure to contact a litigation attorney right away. But under no circumstances should you ignore a lawsuit. If you fail to file a response in time, you may end up with a default judgment against you. If that happens, your accounts and property may be at risk.

2. Contact an attorney who has experience in Civil Litigation. Then, make sure you’re honest with your lawyer.

No matter what type of lawsuit you’re facing, you should reach out to a litigation attorney. An attorney will ensure that you take all the necessary steps and obey your state’s laws. Make sure you reach out to an attorney who has a license to practice in your state. Every state has a different code of law. If you’re in Virginia, you’ll need a Virginia-based attorney before you proceed.

Once you’ve found an attorney, it’s critical that you’re honest with them. A lawyer can only help you if you give them all the facts. Concealing any part of the truth from your attorney could make it difficult for them to defend you.

3. Never admit you’re at fault. Do not communicate with anyone else involved in the case, especially witnesses.

If you admit fault, you may become liable for the allegations included in the lawsuit. Attorneys for the other party can use admissions of fault or guilt against you in court, so be careful.

You may also want to vent about a lawsuit to others. Be very careful. You should never discuss a case with any other people involved in the lawsuit. After all, you don’t know who else they might be talking to, and you don’t want to incriminate yourself in any way. You should also avoid sharing information about an ongoing lawsuit on social media. The only person you should be discussing the case with is your attorney.

4. Gather and keep all evidence. Write down everything you remember.

Many people get rid of key documentation because they don’t realize its importance. This can be a costly mistake. Any claims you make are meaningless without evidence. That’s why you should take pictures of anything related to your case and keep all relevant records. You should also write down any pertinent memories you have and print out any other evidence you can find. If you discard evidence related to the case, you could face court sanctions down the line.

5. With your attorney, prepare and file your response with the court, and give the plaintiff a copy of your response.

Have you gathered all your evidence and spoken to your attorney about the case? If so, you are now ready to file your response. Remember, you only have a designated amount of time to do this, so make sure you respect that deadline. You must also ensure that your response follows court rules in your state.

6. Don’t assume your legal expenses will be paid by your opponent.

Your opponent will only have to pay your legal fees if you’ve signed a contract with them or if there is an applicable law that permits the recovery of attorneys fees. The contract or applicable law must state that the losing party will cover the legal expenses of the other party. And even then, the court is unlikely to compel the losing party to pay out legal fees in full. In other words, if you’ve been sued, it’s best to assume that you’ll be responsible for your own legal expenses.

7. Don’t assume that your case will go to court.

When people hear that they’re facing a lawsuit, they often assume they’re headed to court. But that is often not the case. In fact, an ideal scenario would involve not going to court at all. Instead, your attorney may help you try to settle with the aggrieved party out of court if that approach turns out to be in your best interest.

8. If you do end up going to court, check your emotions at the door.

It is critical that you avoid being emotional in the courtroom. Even if it’s difficult, you need to keep calm and answer questions in a brief and clear manner. Only answer the questions asked. Excessive displays of emotion will not make the judge more sympathetic to your case. In fact, being emotional in court could hurt your case in the end.

 

These are the first 8 things you should do if you’re being sued in the Commonwealth of Virginia or in any state.

Keep in mind, every lawsuit is unique, so you must hire an experienced attorney who has a license to practice in your state. Once you do, trust their judgment. Their primary goal is to defend you, so you need to be honest with them. If you find yourself facing a lawsuit, Archangel Law Group is here to help! Our areas of focus include civil litigation and criminal law, and we would be glad to assist you.

Archangel Law Group

Archangel Law Group is here to help if you have been sued. If you need to discuss your case with an experienced attorney or you have questions about a lawsuit, give us a call today! Call (757) 389-7383. We serve clients throughout the Hampton Roads cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hampton, and Newport News, and throughout Virginia.

If you find yourself needing an attorney, contact our firm. (757) 389-7383

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