What to Do When You are Sued

This post from NFIB offers good advice on what to do when the process server enters your business, hands you some papers and declares, "You've been served."

"There are several acts that can bring advantageous results in responding to a lawsuit.

Do not ignore the lawsuit
The most important point is to never ignore the claim, no matter who makes it or where it comes from...If you fail to defend against a lawsuit in the time mandated by the law...you lose the lawsuit, even if good defenses to the claim exist.

Contact an attorney
Despite any fears toward lawyers, do not hesitate to get legal advice. Call your attorney, or if you don't have one, find one quickly...

Organize information
Generally, an attorney will ask a client to collect information for litigation. Gather all documents together in a logical order that the attorney can easily access. Don't destroy any documents, including e-mails or other electronic records, related to the case...Coordinate any investigation and data collection with your attorney...

Work with your attorney
Don't just turn the matter completely over to your attorney. Stay on top of the case and work closely with your attorney to make decisions on how to proceed...

Formulate a plan...
Your strategy for defense may depend on what you are willing or able to afford. Ask your attorney for an estimate on fees and expenses, and then determine your potential liability exposure with your lawyer based on how much the case could cost, what the chances of winning the lawsuit are, and how long the case may take. Decide on settlement possibilities and legal strategies, such as whether to countersue, using sound business judgment."

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