So you had a confrontation with someone at work, which led you to smack him on his face! The first thing you hear after such an occurrence is, “You better get a good lawyer because I will be seeing you in court!” Of course, you take it lightly and when you are almost erasing it in your mind, the lawsuit suddenly appears. On realizing your victim was not joking, what do you do next? Do you lawyer-up or defend yourself? How long do you have until you appear in court? Was the injury that serious that he had to sue or does he want a compensation package? Below are some pointers on where to start.
• Hire a lawyer
Since this is no criminal case, a civil lawyer will do. Hiring a lawyer, as much as you might have to interfere with your budget for the month, is far better than defending yourself. Why? Mostly because you are the one being sued and you can never compare yourself to a professional. A lawyer knows better and can turn the whole case upside down to ensure you win, even if you did smack him.
• Revoke a default judgment and meet your deadline
A defendant has 30 days for him to file a response, which should be typed and sent to the court. Failure to this, you lose the case. During this period, things might happen and you are unable to file it. If the court finds your reasons to be genuine (even if they are not), you have extra time to do as required and talk to the court about the case as well. Therefore, you should cancel the judgment as soon as possible.
• Settling the case before going to court
If you think the plaintiff is worth negotiating with, then you might be lucky. Your attorneys can do the negotiations and come up with a compensation package for the plaintiff, but only if he agrees to negotiate and not you. You may offer to pay his bills, insurance and of course, monetary compensation for the case to be settled. Some victims tend to take advantage of the situation by claiming an exaggerated amount of money for a small injury. The bad thing is that it does not matter how small the injury is; you might have to pay thousands for it, not forgetting the hospital bills. Just weigh the situation with your lawyer and if it is not worth it, then go right ahead; the jury will know if the plaintiff is solely after money and might be in your favor after all.