Filing a Lawsuit in Portsmouth, Virginia
Residents of Portsmouth, Virginia who suffer legal wrongs are normally legally entitled to compensation for harm they incurred as a result. This compensation is normally obtained by filing 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 Portsmouth, Virginia civil litigation attorney.
Once you retain a Portsmouth, Virginia litigation attorney, he or she will be able to advise you on your chances of succeeding in your lawsuit. Additionally, your lawyer can inform you on what a lawsuit is likely to cost, both in time and money. Obviously, your lawyer has some control over what it will cost you, based on their fees, and whether they bill an hourly rate, or charge on a contingency rate.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Portsmouth, Virginia
Consultation with your attorney: Before you file a lawsuit in a Portsmouth, Virginia court, you need to meet and confer with a local lawyer. You lawyer in Portsmouth, Virginia can advise you on whether or not your lawsuit has merit, and how likely it is to succeed.
Drafting The Complaint: In Portsmouth, Virginia, the first step in filing a lawsuit is drafting a complaint. The complaint is a document that lays out all of your allegations against the person you're suing. It typically provides necessary background information, details the injuries you suffered, and why the person you're suing is to blame for those injuries. It also usually contains a specific "prayer" (request) for relief - a brief statement telling the court what the plaintiff is asking of it, such as monetary damages, and injunction, or other relief.
Serving The Defendant: After you draft your complaint, and file it with the court, you have to let the defendant know that they're being sued. The law of Portsmouth, Virginia requires that the defendant be given advance notice of the lawsuit as a matter of basic fairness: if you were being sued, you'd want to be given time to find a lawyer and prepare your defense strategy, right? So, with that in mind, the law prefers that defendants be served personally, typically through the use of a paid process server.
Await the Response: The defendant in Portsmouth, Virginia has an opportunity 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 basically 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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How Can A Portsmouth, Virginia Tort Lawyer Help?
Filing a lawsuit in a Portsmouth, Virginia court is a bit more complex than the basic outline laid out above.
If you have suffered a legal wrong in and decide to sue the person who you believed wronged you, you should talk with a qualified Portsmouth, Virginia attorney.