“Every time you respond to them, they say you need a lawyer. When you get the lawyer, it costs you money and time,” and it is “stressful to deal with them.”

Yes, lawyers, tires, and doctors cost money. It’s true. Not investing in them, though, can lead to disastrous results.

For my entrepreneur/corporate friends: A Missouri appellate court recently affirmed a trial court’s refusal to set aside a default judgment. (A default judgment occurs when the defendant doesn’t show up, so the court gives the plaintiff the amount it wants).

The result: plaintiff received a significant (yet disputed) interest in a $1.7 million investment account.

While a court (in some circumstances) will forgive a delay in responding to the lawsuit, a defendant cannot assume it will be forgiven for missing the response deadline. In this case, the defendant(s) made a conscious decision to ignore the plaintiff’s Petition. This conscious decision exceeded the “excusable neglect” that is sometimes forgiven.

The defendants gave several excuses for failing to respond the lawsuit – the most pointed was the opening sentence of this post. They also doubted that the Petition was legitimate.

Be sure to give your lawyer a call if you’re served with a court filing. And check your tire pressure while you’re at it.