The Ostrich Defense – It Never Works

February 2nd, 2017 - Bryan L. Page

Ostriches are funny animals. They can often be seen with their heads in the sand. A common belief is that ostriches bury their head in the sand when they are scared or in danger. But this is actually a myth. While it may often look like ostriches bury their heads in the sand, they are actually checking in on their underground nests and eggs. Ostriches actually cannot escape danger by burying their heads in the sand, and neither can people.

People often try to use the “ostrich defense” to deal with their problems, especially legal problems. No one wants to go talk to a lawyer. If you have to talk to a lawyer, it is usually not a good thing. We understand (and don’t take offense). Rather than talk to a lawyer and try to solve the problems, people often try to bury their head in the sand like an ostrich and ignore their legal problems in hopes they go away. But just like it doesn’t work for ostriches, it also doesn’t work for people and their legal problems.

Maybe you get a certified letter from a lawyer, a company, or a government agency. You would be amazed how many people refuse to pick up certified letters from people they don’t want to deal with. Or maybe you do pick up the letter and read it, but you throw it away or ignore it. Maybe you actually get served with a lawsuit, but you ignore it.

Bad things can happen if you ignore important legal papers. In lawsuits, if you do not respond in the time required by the court’s rules, the other side could obtain a default judgment against you. And there may not be any way to get that judgment reversed. If you delay in talking to a lawyer about a legal issue that arises, once you do get a lawyer, it can be more difficult for that lawyer to help you than if you had engaged their services earlier. I once had a client who was about to have its bank account drained of over $200,000 simply because the client failed to open and respond to a certified letter containing legal papers. So acting like an ostrich can be costly.

When it comes to legal matters, do not try be an ostrich. When faced with a legal problem, take prompt action. Talk to a lawyer sooner rather than later. It will be much easier for us to help you if you do.

Disclaimer: This article and blog are intended to inform the reader of general legal principles applicable to the subject area. They are not intended to provide legal advice regarding specific problems or circumstances. Readers should consult with competent counsel with regard to specific situations.

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