Filing a lawsuit has many legal advantages, mainly granting you the ability to seek financial compensation for another’s wrongdoing. But the process of actually filing a lawsuit isn’t as simple as saying you want to sue someone. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, the process could be short or lengthy, straightforward or complicated, but there are always a few steps you should always keep in mind when filing for a lawsuit. We’ve outlined them below:
1.) Legal standing: You can’t just sue anyone for any reason – you need to have a valid reason, such as suffering a personal injury. And just because someone has done you wrong, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can sue them. A professional attorney can help you first determine if you have the legal standing to sue someone.
2.) Check statutes of limitations: Once you determine that you have valid reasons to sue someone, you need to figure out if you can. Every lawsuit is subject to a statute of limitations – an expiring timeframe when action can be taken place – depending on the reasons behind the case. Again, seek the help of an experienced lawyer if you need help understanding legal statutes.
3.) Collect and fill forms: Commonly, you’ll need to create a cover sheet and a summary of your complaints, as well as obtaining an official summons. Certain cases, however, may require more forms from your county clerk’s office and an attorney can assist you in determining if you have them all or not.
4.) Make triplicates: Make three copies of all the forms you’ve created – one for you, one for your attorney, and one for the person you intend to sue.
5.) Visit a courtroom: After finding the proper court to file your complaint, the original documents will need to be filed there. There may be filing fees you’ll have to pay, but you can possibly have them waived or reimbursed as part of your lawsuit, should you win.
6.) Serve the papers: You’ll usually need a third party to serve the official summons to the party you are suing. It is highly recommended that you use an attorney to do so, as they will know what to do should any complications arise, such as the problem of the other party claiming they were never given the paperwork.
7.) Wait: Once the summons have been served and everything is filed, you have to wait for a judge to assign a court date. Use this time to build your case with the help of an attorney.
You may have noticed a common theme of retaining a professional litigation attorney that is willing to go to court for you, and that really can’t be stressed enough. Even in simple lawsuits, anything can go south for your case if you aren’t prepared. At DiTrapano Barret DiPiero McGinley & Simmons, we have a sharp and varied team of West Virginia personal injury attorneys that offers an extraordinary 150 years of combined experience that can be used to support you in all your legal matters. Contact us at 304.342.0133 today for more information.