Being sued can throw sensible people into a panic. A lawsuit is an adversarial process that looks a lot like a very polite fight, and the sums of money at stake can be high. You might feel angry or betrayed by the plaintiff and want to take immediate action. But if you're being sued, there's no need to panic -- you won't necessarily end up in debt or in years of nasty litigation.
If you're worried, take some time to learn about your case and your rights. Understand Your Lawsuit If you're being sued, the chances are that you've already tried and failed to resolve the dispute informally. But your first formal notice that you're being sued in Georgia is when you're served with a complaint. A complaint is the legal document that the other side, or their Atlanta lawyer, wrote to explain the problem as they see it, and the laws that apply. Read the complaint carefully to learn what exactly the other side is asking for. The complaint might make outrageous claims, include people who aren't involved in the dispute, or ask for far more money than you think the dispute is worth.
Don't worry -- you'll get a chance to ask the court to remove things like this. If your insurance will not pay for an lawyer, and you want to hire your own, do it as soon as you receive the complaint. Your lawyer will know if there are legal grounds to have the lawsuit dismissed (thrown out) or to have parts of the complaint stricken out, but you have to move quickly. By law, you must file a legal document called an answer within the short period of time specified by law, or the amount asked for in the complaint can (and probably will) be awarded against you.
Look for an Atlanta attorney who has handled many cases similar to yours, especially if someone you trust can recommend him or her. Tell the lawyer everything you know about the case, even if it's embarrassing to you. You can represent yourself, but it's best to do so only in magistrate (small claims) court, which is specifically designed for people without attorneys.
Experts don't recommend acting as your own lawyer in other kinds of lawsuits, because it's easy to lose after just one mistake. Whatever you do, don't ignore the complaint. If you don't answer the complaint at all by the deadline, you might lose automatically. You could then have your paycheck garnished and your property seized to pay the amount awarded against you. If you don't want to be involved in the lawsuit, the best thing to do is to try to work out the dispute informally. You can reach an agreement -- called a "settlement" in the legal world -- at any time before trial.
If you owe money to the other person, you may be able to stop the lawsuit just by paying it or setting up a payment plan. If it's possible, set up a meeting with the other party to discuss it; they may want to include their lawyer, which is permissible. When discussing the case, keep in mind that a lawsuit is time-consuming, stressful and often expensive. However, you may be able to negotiate a good settlement if the plaintiff's case is weak Do You Need Help Filing an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawsuit? If you were injured in Atlanta or any other place in Georgia, and you're considering filing a lawsuit, Atlanta injury lawyers Stokes & Kopitsky for a free consultation. We have more than 30 years of experience in personal injury cases, including cases of car, truck, SUV and motorcycle accidents; injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists; accidents due to dangers on property; and workers' compensation; including cases of wrongful deaths or serious brain injury.
We've won millions of dollars for our injured clients -- money that can help them get medical treatment, make ends meet and get back on their feet. And because we know injured people sometimes have financial trouble too, we work for a contingency fee, so we don't get paid until and unless we win your case. For a free evaluation of your case today, call Stokes & Kopitsky at 1-800-552-9200, or (404) 892-0011 in Atlanta.
Atlanta accident lawyers Stokes and Kopitsky have successfully helped hundreds of injured clients recover payment for insurance claims, medical bills, lost pay, pain and suffering, and more. Please call us for a free consultation.