If you have been served with a lawsuit, whether it is because someone was injured on your property, or you were in an automobile or boating accident, you are accused of breaching a contract or involved in a physical altercation, you need an attorney.
Just because a person files a lawsuit against you does not necessarily mean that you are going to have to pay them money. The first hurdle that any potential plaintiff will have to jump is proper service – that is, were you properly notified of the lawsuit. Although this may seem like a straightforward question, that is not always the case. Generally, defendants in lawsuits must be served in person – not by mail, and not by someone leaving the papers on your doorstep.
Assuming that service was proper, there are likely defenses available to you that you may not even know about – statute of limitations, latches, waiver, and contributory negligence are just a few. Another important consideration is insurance – you may be surprised to learn that you have insurance that will pay for your defense.
If there is not a legal defense to your case and it is allowed to proceed in court, the next issue is determining how much you (or your insurance) will have to pay. There are several factors that are used to determine the amount of “damages” owed to a plaintiff, including the severity of the injury, time lost from work and emotional distress. Part of your attorney’s job is to minimize the amount of the plaintiff’s recovery. Generally this involves negotiating with the plaintiff’s counsel, and, where needed, retaining expert witnesses to disprove the amounts the plaintiff is claiming.
Although being served with a lawsuit can be a frightening experience, one of the worst options is to simply ignore it. If you are being sued, or believe you are about to be sued, contact the Office of Jamie Keeton for a free consultation.