Receiving a summons or a complaint in the mail regarding a new lawsuit can be rattling, to say the least. Notification of any sort of civil litigation can be daunting, but following these five steps will assist you in relieving any concerns.

1. Read the summons carefully

The first thing to do if you receive a complaint and are being served is to be sure to thoroughly understand what is being alleged. Are you a defendant? Are you involved in some alternative way?

2. Calculate the response date

Upon being served, the clock begins ticking and counting down to certain deadlines that you must adhere to. The date in which you must file a response by is absolutely critical to be aware of, and to follow. Missing the date in which you must initially file a response to the served lawsuit can have consequences, such as the inability to defend against any charges that may have been filed against you.

3. Get legal help

Call your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, find a lawyer through outside sources. Check throughout your community or utilize the Internet. It is vital to have legal aid that can provide you with assistance in your subsequent steps to defend yourself, to advise you, to decide whether or not insurance must be involved, etc. A lawyer is the best way to ensure you are being properly instructed for the proceedings of that lawsuit.

4. Respond

There is a process for each way you would like to respond. Whether it be a pleading, a motion or an answer, there’s a process which must be followed. It is not natural for a layperson to necessarily understand how to adequately respond to a lawsuit. That’s where your legal team will be able to guide you in this process.

5. Show Up

If you are summoned, do not miss a hearing or proceeding. Show up every step of the way in order to be sure you will not be caught off guard or unaware of any potential problems along the way.

Most importantly, if you are served with a lawsuit, do not ignore it. No matter how intimidating it might seem to be summoned, it is crucial to understand that it will not go away, and avoiding it will simply put you more at risk for trouble with the court.

If you have been served, or have questions regarding the process and what to do, visit us at or give us a call at (877) YOUR-FIRM.