Every day, hundreds of thousands of lawsuits are in process. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 40 million legal filings each year in the United States.
Litigation comes in all different shapes and sizes. Some are filing criminal charges while there are also millions of civil disputes.
For those filing civil litigation, there is a potential monetary reward. While the process may be long, in many cases it is worth it in the end.
Read on to learn all about filing litigation. Explore three simple steps to filing a lawsuit here.
1. Consult With an Attorney
The first step in the process is to consult with an attorney. The legal process is complex and the vast majority of people require legal representation.
You should start off by searching for an attorney online. Usually, the lawyer’s homepage provides details on what type of law they specialize in.
It is important to select an attorney that has significant experience in your area. You do not want to hire a DUI attorney to represent you for a medical malpractice complaint.
Lastly, schedule a free consultation with the prospective lawyers you find. Here, you can discuss the merits of your case and how much legal representation is going to cost.
2. Complaint Process
The attorney that you select is going to help you file a complaint. This complaint details the allegations of wrongdoing made against the defendant.
The formal complaint is typically filed with a local or county court. Once the complaint is filed, the defendant is served with a copy of the suit.
They are then provided an opportunity to respond. There is a set amount of time afforded to the defendant to respond back to the same court.
When answering the complaint, the defendant is asked to respond in writing to the allegations being made. The defendant is also able to file a counter-claim during this time period.
The longest part of the legal process takes place next. This step is referred to as discovery.
Here, both the plaintiff and the defendant collect information pertinent to the case. Each side is going to formally ask questions of the other party.
Discovery also includes collecting documents and other physical evidence to bolster their case. Witnesses are also involved in the discovery process.
Your attorney is likely to interview any potential witnesses. Formally, the lawyer takes sworn statements called depositions from the witnesses.
Depositions often play an important role when the litigation goes to trial. The judge may use a deposition as formal testimony when a witness is unavailable. A good lawyer may poke holes in witness testimony using these written statements.
Three Simple Steps to Filing a Lawsuit
You are now prepared to go to court. Litigation is a long and arduous process and knowing what to expect goes a long way.
Filing a complaint and discovery are significant steps to getting to trial. If you enjoyed this article about three steps to filing a lawsuit, check out our blog for more great content.