The Steps of a Lawsuit


Other than watching Suits or The Good Wife series, few people are familiar with the steps of a lawsuit, or even what they are. While many attorneys deal primarily in district or courtrooms on a very regular basis, being sued by someone or having to commence a lawsuit against an individual can be quite a foreign and daunting process. While there are many helpful sources of information available on the Internet, many of them cannot help you much unless you know where to look. One great resource for finding out the steps of a lawsuit is the local bar association, which can tell you everything from who to contact to the rules governing personal injury lawsuits in your area.

Steps of A Lawsuit

The first steps of a lawsuit begin with a complaint. A plaintiff generally files the complaint with the appropriate court, identifying the defendant (the person who has been sued) and bringing along information about the alleged acts of negligence that caused the injury.

The complaint then goes on to detail what happened during the course of the action, and what the defendant has not done to answer the complaint. If, after considering the complaint, the court agrees that a lawsuit should be filed, the plaintiff must then prepare the necessary documents and deliver them to the court on or before a certain date known as an “innocent party day.”

Discovery is the second step of a lawsuit, and it deals specifically with obtaining any and all documents that relate to the case.

Discovery is really the key to a successful lawsuit, because if there is any evidence that will be used against the defendant at trial, a party has to obtain and review those documents in order to use them against the defendant. Discovery is also often a very tense moment in the case, because if the plaintiff’s attorney makes a discovery mistake, the court may rule against them and award damages.

Both parties must make their discovery requests with respect to the respective cases. If either party does not comply with the request, a motion to dismiss can be made with the court.

Discovery is very important to the outcome of a lawsuit, but it can become quite complex and time-consuming for a client who lacks experience in these matters.

Discovery is usually done by the lawyer handling the case, and requests for discovery are often denied by the opposing party without any opportunity for argument or appeals.

If discovery is allowed to proceed without delay, the lawyer will spend many hours researching relevant documents and looking for specific documents that pertain to the case. This can consume a lot of time and may cause a client to be unable to fully prepare for the trial. In this situation, it is advisable for a plaintiff to retain a competent personal injury attorney.

Another important step in lawsuit funding, whether initiated by a client or by a law firm, is to bring the lawsuit to trial.

Even if a settlement agreement has been reached with the defendant, sometimes a trial is unavoidable. When this occurs, it is important to proceed with the lawsuit as soon as possible. A number of steps must first be taken to set up the trial, including scheduling a date, locating a venue, selecting a jury, hiring a lawyer, and providing the necessary discovery to the lawyer. Without these steps, there is little chance that either party will consider a negotiated settlement.

The steps of a lawsuit are essential to the timely resolution of lawsuits.

Unless both parties reach an agreement on all steps of the lawsuit, either party may move for a trial. Once the legal process has begun, both parties have the right to pursue relief from the other, and a successful outcome is highly unlikely if the initial steps of the lawsuit have been neglected.

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