There’s a knock at the door. When you answer, a stranger hands you a paper and says, “you’ve been served.” That is how it often begins, out of the blue you are being hauled into court and someone is demanding thousands of dollars from you for an alleged wrong that you have committed. Many in this situation, with thousands of dollars at stake and a lawyer on the other side bringing the claim, need to hire an attorney – a good one, and fast.
The “you’re being sued” letter is called a summons and complaint in most cases in Colorado you must file your answer within twenty-one days (21). This answer is a critical step in protecting yourself. If you don’t respond, the party suing you could obtain a default judgment. That means they automatically win their lawsuit because you never responded to their claim and they proceed directly to the collections phase. Or an improperly crafted answer may waive important affirmative defenses that must be alleged at the outset.
Once you answer the complaint your case will move into the discovery phase, which is where both sides will have an opportunity to “discover” information about the other side. There are four mains ways to “discover” information about the other side:
- Interrogatories – written questions
- Requests for Production of Documents – written requests for specific documents
- Requests for Admissions – written questions which are considered admitted if not denied
- Depositions – in person oral questioning under oath
After discovery the court will many times require mediation to attempt to settle the case prior to allowing it to proceed to trial. Finally, the last step is the actual trial which may be held in front of a jury or the judge only. The trial itself consists of many phases:
- Motions in Limine – pre-trial arguments to include or exclude certain evidence
- Jury Selection – question the pool of prospective jurors and choose unbiased jurors
- Opening Statements – facts and a forecast of the evidence that will be introduced
- Plaintiff’s Case – plaintiff may call witnesses and provide other evidence in support
- Defendant’s Case – defendant may introduce their own witnesses and evidence
- Closing Statements – argue to the judge or jury about the evidence and ask for damages
Contact Us Today!
With so much at stake and the technicalities of a lawsuit before you, don’t you think it would be wise to hire an expert? Someone to guide you through the process? Someone to lookout for your best interest? The litigation and trial attorneys at Robinson and Henry can help. We are strong negotiators but ready, willing, and able, to defend you at trial if needed. Call Robinson and Henry at 303-688-0944 or go to http://www.robinsonandhenry.com/contact/make-an-appointment/ to schedule your free consultation online.
Just because you’ve been served, it does not have to mean that you will lose. But it does mean that you must defend yourself.