Being served a court summons can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if the lawsuit is unexpected. After being served the papers, you may feel angry, upset, scared, along with many other negative feelings. Don’t worry, that is perfectly normal.
You may also be wondering why the opposing party took such aggressive action against you – couldn’t they have contacted you to try to resolve it? Perhaps you are worried about how the case will affect your employment, family and finances? And, you most probably have no idea about what you should do next.
To help you deal with being served, we have put together a guide below, suggesting the next steps you should take. To find out more, have a read of this.
Read the papers
The first thing to do is read the papers that you have been served. The papers should explain the complaint against you, the allegations, and the information requested by the court. The summons you have been served will need to be replied to as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could end up in more trouble.
In most areas, being served papers means that you were handed or mailed the documents. Don’t try to pretend you haven’t received the documents, as this will only make things worse. For many reasons people avoid being served a court summons, but it is a mistake to do so, and it will not end well.
Be careful of what you say and do
Although your initial response to the opposing party’s claims may be to ring them up or send an angry email to them, don’t contact them. Anything you say or write can be used as evidence and read out in court.
Leading up to the court case it is best to avoid all contact with the opposing party. Don’t take their phone calls or reply to their emails, unless your lawyer suggests that you do.
Don’t panic about time
If you don’t feel like the time frame you have been given to reply to the initial complaint is long enough, the court can extend it for you.
Just make sure to get in touch with the court as soon as possible. Make sure to be polite and explain the situation properly, and there should be no problem with getting an extension.
Find a good lawyer
The most important thing to do is seek legal advice from a reputable lawyer. As soon as possible, make an appointment to discuss the summons with a lawyer.
Your lawyer will be able to tell you of whether the papers were properly served and whether there are any grounds for you to dismiss the lawsuit. Your lawyer will also be able to tell you whether you should file a complaint of your own.
A good lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that your interests are always protected.
Don’t get yourself down, keep busy and stay positive. If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about.
To ensure that you have not been affected by the stress, make an appointment to speak to a therapist. To keep calm and focused, you could also consider taking part in meditation based exercise, like yoga.