“I Think I Was Just Served”: What do I do NOW?
You just received a knock on your door and you received a service of process and a complaint has been filed against you in a civil suit. You probably have many questions running through your mind. Why was I sued? What does this mean? What do I do now? All of these questions are valid and have very straightforward answers. When being sued in Florida, there are a few important steps that you should take.
Face and accept the problem at stake.This could happen to anyone. Any person can file a complaint against you for any reason. Once you have been served, you cannot prevent the lawsuit from occurring. For this reason, you must be proactive and respond to the situation responsibly.
Seek out an Attorney.This is the best advice you can receive when facing a potential civil suit. Meeting and sitting down with an attorney as quickly as possible will allow them to assess the complaint and inform you of the strength and/or weakness of the case against you. At times an attorney can make these types of assessments during a consultation; at which time, you should take advantage of the attorney-client privilege and tell your attorney everything they need to know.
Try to settle or come to a compromise. It is more than likely that the reason you are being sued is because of an agreement that did not work out between you and the other party. Most cases settle before anyone actually appears before a court, but it takes keen negotiation and swift action to prevent unnecessary litigation costs.
Respond Accordingly. You must file something in a timely manner in order to prevent a default judgment. A default judgment is a binding judgment in favor of the plaintiff (which means, against you!) based on your failure to take any action. In the state of Florida, you generally have 20 days from the date of service of the original process to serve an answer. If the complaint is meritless, your attorney can assist with the proper strategy to dismiss the case.
If a lawsuit has been filed against you or if you have any question about the civil litigation process in Florida, the Kendrick Law Group can assist you in a professional and effective manner. Contact us at 407-641-5847 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Jessica Kendrick and Don Morrell