Laws » So, Sue Me: How to File a Lawsuit the Proper Way

So, Sue Me: How to File a Lawsuit the Proper Way

There are roughly 40 million lawsuits filed in the US every year.  The legal system is designed to help you recover compensation when you can demonstrate that someone else created your damages.

Learn more here on how to file a lawsuit with this insightful guide. Do your homework today so that you can start the journey to recover your losses.

What’s a Lawsuit?

A lawsuit is a civil legal action (not a criminal action) filed with a court. Lawsuits allow companies or individuals to resolve their disagreements from a business or personal injury encounter. A judge or jury will ultimately decide the outcome of the case if both parties can’t settle.

How to File a Lawsuit

If you’re ready to file a lawsuit against someone, just follow these steps. Then you’ll know what’s coming next through the life of your complaint.

Hire a Civil Law Attorney

A civil attorney provides advice and legal strategies on your civil lawsuit. They can navigate the different court proceedings, such as arbitration and negotiating settlements for you. Find a professional with extensive litigation experience to help with filing a lawsuit.

Outline of Demands for Compensation

Your civil attorney can draft a list of the damages you received and how much it will cost to correct them.  This list is called a demand for compensation. Demand letters are mailed to the other party as well as their insurance company if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The other party decides if they want to ignore these letters or respond. If your demands are ignored, your civil attorney files your complaint with the court system where the other party lives.

File Your Complaint

Lawsuits, or “complaints,” describe why the plaintiff believes they need relief and how much money (or other form of relief) they think they are entitled to receive. Lawsuits will also identify the defendants (other parties being sued).

When plaintiffs file a complaint, they pay a court filing fee. They also ask the court to issue a “summons” to the defendant.

A “summons” is a legal document that lets the defendant know that they are about to be sued. The summons will also outline the other names in the case. This legal document also identifies which court the case was filed in and any names of the plaintiff’s attorney.

A complaint or summons must be delivered personally or “served to the defendant.  You can serve the summons yourself. It’s best (and safer) to hire a process server to complete this task for you.

Settlement Negotiations

If both sides want to reach a settlement, then the lawsuit is dropped.  When this happens, plaintiffs and defendants meet during a court process called mediation.

Attorneys from both sides will create an expectations document for each party. Expectations could include repayment schedules or other terms. More than 90 percent of lawsuits settle out of court.

Next Steps

If filing a lawsuit is in your future, get organized now. Collect your documents and historic facts that outline your damages.

Head to a law library and find a book called the American Jurisprudence Pleadings and Practice Forms. This resource has examples of what legal complaints look like. Find a sample that includes a situation that mirrors your own.

Interview as many different civil law attorneys as you can.  Ask them to share their experiences with filing lawsuits and negotiating settlements.

Check out our website for more insights on how to file a lawsuit. Look through our resources so you can get the best outcome for your case.

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