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You have been served, but it’s not from your waiter. Instead a random person shows up at your doorstep, hands you legal paperwork and says “you’ve been served.” Before you have the chance to comprehend what just happened, that person is gone and you are left with a stack of paperwork full of legal mumbo-jumbo.

To be served means you have been given notice of a lawsuit. Unfortunately, many individuals find themselves receiving a lawsuit when they did nothing wrong. A lawsuit can be brought forth by a number of things, including a car accident or a slip and fall incident.

Whether you saw this coming or not, the process of being served can be scary and intimidating, and it is important to stay calm and take steps towards resolving the issue. Follow the steps below to ensure that you are doing all you can to create a favorable outcome:

Read paperwork carefully

The first thing you need to do after being served is figure out why you are being served, and never assume why you are being served. If your spouse is divorcing you, you might expect to be served divorce papers, but you could be getting sued for the car wreck you were involved in six months ago.

Some common legal notices are:
  • Summons and Complaints: you are being sued and if you do not respond, a default judgement will be filed against you
  • Subpoena: you are a witness in a case, a litigant or court demands that you testify
  • Restraining Order: a judge issues an order that keeps you from doing something

It is important to review all the paperwork and figure out what you are being called to do. Do not just skim through the papers, because you never know what terms could have been included without your knowledge.

Legal terms can be very confusing, especially to those not familiar with the subject. If you need assistance reviewing your legal notice, Barfoot and Schoettker offer free consultations to walk you step by step in this complicated process.

Check for deadline or court date

After you have been served, you will be given a certain amount of time to take action. The clock starts the second you are handed the papers. It is important to check and see if a court date has been set, because you will need to be present at this court or forfeit your right to argue.

These deadlines are extremely important. While extensions can be available for those who need more time, you need to be aware of the deadline so you can avoid forfeiting the case altogether. Typically, a forfeited case will not reach a decision in your favor.

Obey the order

Many times, being served means that an order has been enacted against you. You must obey these orders until told otherwise. For example, if you have been served with restraining order papers, you must not contact or come into contact with the petitioner.

When a court decides that you can not do something, it is crucial that you do not do it. You will face legal consequences if you fail to comply.

Call Barfoot & Schoettker

No matter what legal action is being taken against you, it is always in your best interest to contact an attorney. According to Linkedin, although having an attorney is not technically necessary, the odds will be against you if you try to represent yourself.

Representing yourself in court is not the best method. Trials can be messy and near impossible to navigate on your own. You will need an attorney to discuss the repercussions of the legal matter and decide on which option is the best to take. Always take this approach so that you can be sure that your rights will be protected.

Here at Barfoot and Schoettker, we provide free consultation and ensure aggressive representation, because we want to make sure that your rights are protected. We pride ourselves on providing an honest assessment of your options so that you can have the best outcome possible in all your legal matters. Contact our office today at, (334) 834-3444.

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