Filing a Lawsuit in St. Louis, Missouri
If you are in St. Louis, Missouri and believe that some form of legal wrong has been committed against you, and determine that seeking legal redress will be worth the time and expense involved, you may wish to file a lawsuit.
If you wish to file a lawsuit, there are many things you need to consider, and the decision to sue someone should not be made without the counsel of a St. Louis, Missouri civil litigation attorney.
The St. Louis, Missouri attorney you end up contacting will be able to advise you on whether you have a good case. If you do, they will further advise you on your best options on how to proceed. Your lawyer can also inform you about what their fees are, and if they have multiple payment options.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in St. Louis, Missouri
Consultation with your attorney: Before you continue in any legal action in St. Louis, Missouri, you should speak with a seasoned local attorney in St. Louis, Missouri. Your legal counsel can make sure you have the best possible chance of winning your case, and help you decide if you should file your lawsuit in the first place.
Drafting a Complaint: Once you have decided to go through with filing a lawsuit in a St. Louis, Missouri court, you need to draft a complaint, with the help of your lawyer. A complaint is normally the initial step in actually filing a lawsuit. The complaint is the plaintiff's first opportunity to lay out the allegations against the defendant. If a complaint doesn't allege facts that add up to a legitimate lawsuit (that is, even if everything alleged in the complaint is true, the defendant has still not committed a legal wrong that the court can compensate), the case will have to be dismissed. When a case is dismissed for this reason, the court normally gives the plaintiff a chance to re-submit the complaint, with the errors corrected.
Serving The Defendant: Once you and your attorney have written a good complaint, and filed it with the court, it needs to be served on the defendant within a particular period of time. This is necessary under the law of St. Louis, Missouri to ensure that the defendant actually knows that he's being sued, and has time to find a lawyer and prepare a defense. Generally, the defendant should be served in person. However, when this isn't possible, service by mail is also acceptable in a few instances.
Await the Response: The defendant in St. Louis, Missouri has an chance to respond to the allegations against them. They have many options in how they respond to a lawsuit. They can move to dismiss the case (arguing that, even if everything the complaint alleges is true, they would still not be liable for anything), or they can file with the court, and serve upon the plaintiff an answer. An answer is a point-by-point disposal of every allegation against the defendant. The defendant can admit the allegations, deny them, or claim that they do not have enough information to admit or deny them (which essentially operates as a denial). Normally, the defendant will admit the inconsequential allegations, so they don't have to be litigated (if the lawsuit is about a car accident involving the plaintiff and defendant, they'll probably go ahead and admit that the accident took place), but deny any allegation that could establish liability, if true (they'll deny responsibility for the car accident, for example). If the defendant does not respond by the deadline, they will have a default judgment entered against them, and automatically lose the case.
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This simple outline is meant to give you a basic idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in St. Louis, Missouri, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Therefore, it's always a good idea to talk with a St. Louis, Missouri litigation attorney if you are contemplating filing a lawsuit against a person or company.