Being served litigation papers is stressful, even if you were expecting to be sued. While you may firmly believe that you are innocent, not knowing what is going to happen in court and what the outcome will be can cause anxiety and worry. By being prepared, you can have more confidence in your case and your ability to reach a fair settlement. Here are some things to do if you are getting ready to engage in a legal battle.
Closely examine the court papers
Immediately after receiving lawsuit papers, you should carefully look at all the details. Whether the claim involved shareholders disagreements, business purchases or real estate disputes, there are several questions to ask when considering the facts:
- How long ago was the debt incurred?
- Do you recognize the company filing suit?
- Do you understand the charges and agree with the amount?
- Is all of your information correct?
Some lawsuits can be made in error, and it may take a simple phone call to sort out the mistake. If there is no mistake and you understand the grounds for suing, you will need to begin preparing by following these steps.
Start by gathering any records that may be pertinent to your case. You can also print off statements if you are dealing with online accounts. If you have recently gone through a bankruptcy and the debt was discharged during that case, the debt is uncollectable. You should bring to court any documents that may prove this.
If you disagree with the amount being claimed or the charges made, you will need the documents to prove there is a discrepancy. If interest has been added, it needs to be a proper amount. The agency may say that you purchased products or requested services that you actually did not, so you will need to prove this to a judge.
It is also important to look at the dates the debt was incurred or the dispute occurred. If it was too long ago, you may be past the statute of limitations and the case will be dismissed. Often, you will need a lawyer to help determine this and prove it in court.
One thing that many people do not realize is that the plaintiff may be willing to accept less than the amount actually owed. A lawyer can help you prepare settlement offers for proposal and may be able to lower your payment. If you have been served papers and are dealing with past debts or any other disputes, contact an experienced attorney to help you fight your case and achieve the best judgement possible.