Regardless of the context of a particular lawsuit, it is imperative that the correct course of action is handled properly or else, due to any variety of mitigating factors, it will fall to pieces. This can be accomplished simply by first contacting a law firm with experience in the matters of filing suits, in order to ensure a specialist’s opinion. However, this goes beyond simply getting opinions on how to handle a suit; it initially will determine if the suit is at all valid.
Acquainting oneself with the necessary facets of the law is always the first step. Even before consulting a lawyer, every possible plaintiff must be educated. Equipping this knowledge is paramount to the case, and it equally establishes the parameters of the case, as well as protects the plaintiff and the defendant from having their rights/person violated. Does the plaintiff actually have the legal grounds to pursue this suit against the defendant? If so, the process is very simple.
Determine whether this is a case for the small claims court, or a step higher on the grapevine. Though the process of suing doesn’t deviate how much further up in size the case travels, it is essential to know the powers the court actually has to provide judgment on the case. A lawsuit officially commences when the plaintiff files a complaint against a defendant, which also includes a request for the defendant to be issued a summons. This initiation includes what happened to spur the suit, the reparations that the plaintiff believes they are owed, and the time and place which both parties must appear in court.
Defendants usually have up to 30 days to answer a complaint/summons if they are planning on a direct challenge to the plaintiff’s grounds for the suit. If a defendant does not answer the suit at all in that time, judges more often than not issue default judgments, in which the plaintiff wins the case without having to prove the defendant is in the wrong. If the case does go before the bench, both parties gather information to prove the case in either direction.
This is where a firm is absolutely necessary if the client has no experience in law. Interrogatories and oral depositions are very common procedures at this point, as well as either party requesting documents that are relevant to the suit, in order to see whether the plaintiff has a case, or even the possibility of a countersuit by the defendant. This is also the point in which the clients can decide with their counsel on having a bench trial (only a judge hears the suit), or a jury trial. Though this process can be undertaken without counsel, the possibilities for an appeal due to legal error are very slim. Also, the countless other motions that can possibly be undertaken during the course of the lawsuit can undermine either parties’ cases.