Any time I can relate to callers to my office or clients it is helpful. Being able to put yourself in their shoes is a valuable tool and they appreciate the understanding.
Well now I can calm the fears of anyone that has been sued.
Years ago I referred out a slip and fall lawsuit. In October of this year I learned that a lawsuit got filed against the primary attorney because they failed to file the case on time due to a clerical error on their part. I was named as a co-defendant since I made the referral.
Whenever anybody calls me and asks for advice because they’ve been sued, I tell them to calm down because everything is going to be fine. I was a total hypocrite because I was not calm and was worried about what was going to happen. I carry legal malpractice insurance, but I had just switched carriers and they were questioning if they should even cover the case.
It would have been very easy to panic about it. Who wants to be sued? I’ve got enough going on in my life that I didn’t need one more thing. And then I got lucky. The lawyer I referred the case to admitted that it was his mistake and his alone. He’s more than adequately insured and he got the plaintiff’s lawyer to drop me from the case. Two weeks ago the case against me was dismissed. All is well (although technically they have one year to reinstate it).
In my head, I knew that the case wasn’t really about me and that it’s common practice to name as many defendants as you can. But that didn’t stop my heart from racing or me from waking up in the middle of the night thinking about it.
All’s well that ends well. Sure I was lucky that both the defendant and the plaintiff’s lawyers are good attorneys who know how to properly handle a case. But the reality is that even if this had gone on and I had to testify, it would not have been the end of the world. Things would have worked out and I would have survived.
Hopefully nobody reading this is getting sued any time soon or has to sue anyone. Our court system isn’t perfect, but it works pretty well. Cases usually take a long time and sometimes they go quickly. In the end, the best thing you can do is take a deep breath, put your faith in an attorney and let the process play itself out. Freaking out will not solve any problem.
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