Why File a Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit is a way to resolve a dispute that cannot be solved by other means. While it can lead to a fair resolution, proceeding with a lawsuit is not something to do just because you want revenge or need money. It can be time consuming and costly for both parties. If you plan to proceed with a lawsuit, be aware that you will need to provide certain documentation to your lawyer.
Discuss The Case With Your Lawyer
What you’ll need to proceed with the suit depends on the circumstances. Your attorney is here to advise you every step of the way. To begin the process of filing a lawsuit, give your attorney any documents you have related to the case, such as bills or correspondence between you and the other parties involved. Your lawyer needs all the facts in order to do the best possible job; this information can help your attorney understand the situation, and may also be presented as evidence during the lawsuit.
Summons and Complaint
Known as the pleadings, the summons and complaint are the papers filed with the court that officially start the lawsuit. These papers tell the court what happened and explain what you want from the suit.
To file the pleadings, you’ll need to know the full names of the parties. If you are suing a business, this includes the correct legal name of the company or corporation. Having the correct names of the parties you are suing (known as the defendants) is very important. Otherwise, even if you win the lawsuit you may be unable to collect the judgment.
The pleadings should also include a description of what happened, where and when it happened, how you were damaged, and what relief you want the court to award you. The pleadings should be signed in front of a court clerk or notary, and filed with the court. You’ll be asked to pay a filing fee, the amount of which depends on the court handling the lawsuit. If you can’t afford the filing fee, you can apply for a waiver, which will be based on your finances. Have a copy of the complaint and summons served (or formally delivered) upon each defendant by an independent third party. The person who serves the papers must file an Affidavit of Service with the court.
Proceeding With the Case
Once the pleadings have been filed, the court will send you notices regarding hearing dates, scheduling deadlines, and other documents that may be required to proceed with the suit. Documents filed with the court after the initial pleadings are known as motions; the motions required will depend on the circumstances of the suit. If you have retained the services of an attorney, your lawyer will help you meet these requirements and explain what is needed at each step. If you are representing yourself, this is your responsibility.