With the normal every day stresses of life, and the compounded pressures felt during the Covid-19 global pandemic, some people often allow the threat of legal actions to slip by while trying to manage fundamental responsibilities like caring for loved ones, sustaining employment, and ensuring basic needs are met. Instead, many start to look for an attorney only after significant legal action has been taken against them. At this juncture, it may be too late to resolve, as a court judgment may have already been issued that can significantly impact finances and quality of life.
Sometimes, the consequences are not felt until physical action is taken, such as eviction. However, underlying actions that play out in a court room can lead to far greater consequences, such as a multiple figure judgment and garnishment of wages. Therefore, it can be more harmful than expected to allow legal challenges to go by the wayside.
This is especially true because court actions involve significant time deadlines. Unfortunately, many often begin seeking help years after final judgments have been issued, and when precious appeal rights and other possible defenses have already expired.
Do not allow this to happen to you or someone you know. Instead, read below for three crucial steps to consider when facing the threat of a lawsuit.
Don’t Ignore Any Documents Received.
As soon as a complaint or other potential legal notice is received, do not panic or be intimidated. Just as importantly, do not ignore anything you have received if it looks like legal actions may be implied or forthcoming. Often times, there are some who benignly ignore the notices believing it is not legitimate, or they panic and fail to act out of fear. However, nothing will be changed until it is faced. Do not allow your legal rights and options to challenge any possible actions against you to pass you by out of fear or lack of knowledge.
Consult a Professional As Soon As Possible.
Once legal correspondence received, take a deep breath, and then consult a professional opinion. And not just any attorney will do. Seek legal counsel from a trained lawyer who is competent in the area you are facing, and one who will fight for your best interests and ensure that your needs are going to be met. While having legal counsel is a major advantage, having counsel that will competently and zealously represent you is paramount to give yourself the best chances of resolving your case favorably. If you retain counsel and feel that the advocacy is not up to your standards, you are within your right to seek other counsel to better suit your needs.
Always Respond, Even If You Are Unsure of What Is Required in Your Answer.
You don’t know what you don’t know, and that is normal human understanding. However, when it comes to defending yourself from consequences of a lawsuit, it is imperative that you defend yourself as best as possible. First, by seeking legal counsel that is well-versed in handling the issues and legal action against you. However, if legal counsel is not an option you can afford, you are within your own right to represent yourself. If you choose this route, then at minimum, respond to every document filed against you so that you are on record defending against the action. Also, include documents you may have to support your own claims and defenses, which also preserves the record for future legal options, such as appeal rights, to challenge unfavorable judgments.
Always give yourself a fighting chance when facing legal action. Do not ignore or be intimidated by legal action. Seek competent legal assistance in determining what your options are, and ensure that such counsel will fight strongly in your best interests. Most importantly, always respond to every action and support your defenses and claims with documents in your favor.
- This information is for general educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.
If you are facing legal action, Make an appointment with Patterson Justice Counsel and Attorney Tina M. Patterson for your consultation today. Don’t rush into decisions without the full and appropriate legal advice and backing.
Tina M. Patterson is the Principal Attorney of Patterson Justice Counsel, PLLC. She is an attorney licensed in the State of Michigan and Federal Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.