What to do if you get sued…in Texas…Part 1.
By Bradley Conway
Question: What do you do if you get sued?
Answer: Get a lawyer.
Question: What if you can’t afford to get a lawyer?
Answer: Well, while I don’t really recommend representing yourself in most situations, I can give you some pointers on how to at least answer the lawsuit and respond to discovery, which will give you some time to figure out what you want to do.
First, don’t panic. If you’re being sued for some amount of money that someone says you owe, don’t worry, if you live in Texas, they can’t garnish your wages for a credit card debt.
Second, DON’T IGNORE IT! If you don’t respond, then you’ve just given them a judgment against you without putting up any sort of fight. At least make them work for it.
Third, file an answer. The court you’re in will determine how much time you have to respond to the suit. It will tell you this on the citation, which should be the first page in the packet of stuff you got from whoever served you. It will say something like you have to file an answer or appear by 10am on the Monday following 10 days. Just count out the days starting with the day after you were served, then go to the next Monday. Easy. I think I would just try to file it as soon as possible. You can find examples of Answers on the Internet. Just find an example that’s called a General Denial.
Lastly, look through the documents you were served and see if there is anything that’s requesting discovery. Sometimes it’s in the petition; sometimes it’s a separate document. If you do have something that says Request for Admissions, Request for Disclosure, Request for Interrogatories, or Request for Production, you have another deadline. If these documents were served on you with the lawsuit, you have 50 days to send the opposing attorney a response. Just count again starting with the day after you were served, once you hit 50, that’s your deadline.
I don’t really recommend responding to discovery yourself, but if you need some responses or objections, and you don’t want to pay a lawyer, I’m sure Google will help you out. One more point, if you receive any of these requests after the service of the petition, you only have 30 days to respond. Just FYI.
So, I now realize that there is a whole bunch of stuff that I can’t spend all day typing into a blog, but if you have any questions, please come see me or another legal professional who knows how to handle these matters. At least, this blog gives you an idea of how long you have to decide whether to seek counsel or go it alone. Enjoy.