No matter the circumstances, being hit with a lawsuit can be overwhelming and stressful. Defendants who believe they\u2019re in the right often jump into filing a counterclaim without understanding possible repercussions. At Gross McGinley, LLP our civil litigation attorneys in Allentown understand that turning the tables on someone suing you may feel like vindication in the moment, but it\u2019s critical to have an experienced professional evaluate your case before making this important decision.Don\u2019t File A Counterclaim To Prove A PointWhether it\u2019s a business relationship that\u2019s gone sour or you\u2019re dealing with a contentious divorce, it\u2019s normal to be angry or emotional when someone files a lawsuit against you. However, it\u2019s important to take a step back and consult with a litigation attorney who can provide an objective perspective. A lawyer can evaluate the facts and evidence surrounding your case and determine whether a counterclaim could be of benefit. In some cases, filing a separate action makes more practical sense.If you immediately file a counterclaim, you may lose your right to litigate the issue in the future and end up paying a lot more in attorneys\u2019 fees and other costs associated with the lawsuit. However, if a civil lawyer determines that you do have grounds for a counterclaim, it can put you on equal footing with the plaintiff. If each party brings a claim against the other, they both have something more to lose than just legal fees and may give you leverage to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement without a lengthy court battle.Compulsory Vs. Permissive CounterclaimsRule 13 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs counterclaims in federal court and distinguishes between mandatory and permissive counterclaims. For example, if you\u2019re sued for breach of contract and you believe the plaintiff breached the same contract first, you may want to file a counterclaim. This would be considered a compulsory counterclaim, which means it arises from the same issue or set of facts the plaintiff has presented and generally must be raised within the existing suit and not as a separate suit.To determine whether a counterclaim is compulsory, the judge may ask whether the same evidence and issues of law and fact are relevant to both the plaintiff\u2019s claim and the defendant\u2019s counterclaim. If you attempt to bring a counterclaim regarding a matter unrelated to the issue at hand but involving the same parties, it may be dismissed with prejudice and you won\u2019t be able to litigate it in another court, or it be clouded by the original claim such that you lose an advantage. The lawyers at Gross McGinley, LLP are well-versed in handling cases involving both state and federal litigation and can assist in evaluating the best forum to address your particular dispute.How A Civil Litigation Attorney Can HelpWhether the lawsuit you\u2019re facing involves business or personal matters, understanding the nuances of civil law can be challenging. If you\u2019ve been served with a complaint, it\u2019s important to evaluate all your options before filing a response and possibly asserting a counterclaim. In Pennsylvania, you typically have about 30 days to respond to the complaint after it is served. For federal litigation, the deadline is usually 21 days. That\u2019s why it\u2019s critical to seek the assistance of an experienced civil litigation attorney as soon as you receive a complaint. A lawyer can review the complaint and recommend a course of action, which may include:\tNegotiating a resolution out of court through mediation or arbitration\tFiling an answer\tFiling a motion to dismiss\tFiling a counterclaimWhatever you do, if you\u2019re served with a lawsuit, don\u2019t ignore it. Failing to respond to a complaint usually results in the court awarding a default judgment to the plaintiff. It can be challenging to convince the court to set aside a default judgment, and a judgment can have a significant impact on your financial stability. Judgment enforcement can be carried out in several ways, including wage garnishment (in certain cases) and attaching your bank accounts. Seeking the counsel of a civil litigation attorney can save you money in the long run, help to ensure your rights are protected, and give you the best chance for success if a counterclaim is warranted.Contact A Civil Litigation Attorney In Allentown, PAThe civil litigation attorneys at Gross McGinley, LLP are committed to protecting your interests and helping you understand your rights. For more than 40 years, we\u2019ve provided forward-thinking, client-focused legal representation to clients in Allentown, PA, and beyond. To schedule a consultation with a civil litigation attorney in Pennsylvania, contact us online or call us at 610-820-5450 today.