DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A LICENSED LAWYER. YOU HEREBY AGREE TO READ THIS INFORMATION (NOT AS LEGAL ADVICE), BUT RATHER AS A FRIENDLY SUGGESTION OF WHAT TO DO IN THIS SITUATION; BASED UPON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR CONSULTING WITH A LICENSED LAWYER IN YOUR COUNTRY. MY EXPERIENCE IS BASED ON THE U.S.A. LEGAL SYSTEM. I CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY REASON IF YOU DECIDE TO FOLLOW MY FRIENDLY SUGGESTION LISTED HERE. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
The short TL;DR answer is, it depends.
Now as far as hiring a lawyer…if you feel that the lawsuit is total bullshit to begin with, then honestly don’t waste your money hiring a lawyer, and instead respond to the complaint yourself via Pro Se. You can always hire an attorney later on if the case does in fact go to trial. Also, in many cases the lawsuit is settled before ever reaching trial.
1. You do in fact have the option of answering the complaint YOURSELF, and requesting an extension of time to answer the complaint YOURSELF via Pro Se for FREE. A lawyer requiring payment in exchange for their legal representation will not ever advise you to go the Pro Se route. This is because they want to get paid, and they also don’t want to get blamed (or run the legal risk for advising you to defend yourself without a lawyer).
2. To answer the complaint you received, follow the instructions as per the court that is listed in the complaint. They are most likely going to ask that you write your responses to them via old fashioned snail mail or electronically via their official website.
3. To get an extension of time regarding answering the complaint, contact the plaintiff’s attorney. If the plaintiff’s attorney refuses or gives you a hard time about it, contact the court instead. The judge will most likely grant you an extension of time. However, the amount of extensions granted will probably be limited (for example, 1-3 extensions in total), so please use that time diligently to complete writing and forwarding your written response to the court.
4. Jurisdiction is a significant factor (at least in the U.S.A.) when it comes down to lawsuits. If the plaintiff is suing you in a different state or country from where you personally live/reside, then the court most likely will not have either personal jurisdiction or subject matter jurisdiction over you, the defendant. This means that the lawsuit has a very good chance of being dismissed.
5. Always insist that the lawsuit be dismissed WITH PREJUDICE so that the plaintiff will not be able to re-open the same lawsuit against you, ever again. If the lawsuit is dismissed WITHOUT PREJUDICE then the plaintiff will be able to re-open the same lawsuit against you.
If you have any other questions or concerns, go ahead and leave them in the comment section below. I’ll do the best I can to answer them, but please remember that I am NOT a licensed lawyer and can only give you my personal opinion based on my personal experience.