Filing a Lawsuit in Decatur, Alabama
If you live in
If you're contemplating filing a lawsuit, there are various things you need to consider, and it is not a decision to be made lightly. You should not file a lawsuit without seeking the advice of a Decatur, Alabama civil litigation attorney first.
Once you hire a Decatur, Alabama litigation attorney, he or she will be able to advise you on your chances of succeeding in your lawsuit. Furthermore, 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 Decatur, Alabama
Consultation with your attorney: Before you proceed with any legal action in Decatur, Alabama, you should seek the advice and counsel of a reputable Decatur, Alabama attorney. He or she will be indispensable in helping you succeed in your lawsuit.
Drafting The Complaint: Once you determine that pursuing a lawsuit in Decatur, Alabama civil court is worth your time and effort, you need to file a complaint. The complaint can set the tone, and frame the issues, for the rest of the litigation procedure, which can drag on for months, or even years (and decades, in some cases). This is because the complaint lays out all the allegations against the defendant. It also usually asks the court for particular relief, should it rule in the plaintiff's favor.
Serving The Defendant: Once you have drafted your complaint, you need to serve the defendant with it, and file it with the court. Decatur, Alabama requires that lawsuits be served on defendants in a certain way. This is to ensure that the defendant has a good deal of notice that they're being sued, giving them time to find an attorney, and work on how they're going to defend themselves. It is highly preferred to serve defendants in person (with a disinterested third party delivering the papers to the defendant). Occasionally, however, the defendant cannot be found, or is trying to avoid service, they can be served by mail with court approval.
Await Defendant's Response: When you have served the defendant with the complaint in Decatur, Alabama, the defendant has time to respond. The most common response is known as an "answer," in which they particularly address the factual allegations you've made against them, usually by denying most of the allegations. They might also move to dismiss the case if they can argue that the complaint is legally flawed. A judge then has to rule on this motion. If the defendant doesn't respond within a certain period of time, they are said to have "defaulted." This allows the court to enter a default judgment, in which the plaintiff essentially automatically wins the lawsuit. Once this happens, the defendant, if they're ever located, can be served with the judgment, and will have very little power to challenge the merits of your case.
Find a Decatur Lawyer that Specializes in Your Area of Need:
How Can A Decatur, Alabama Tort Lawyer Help?
This simple outline is meant to give you a basic idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in Decatur, Alabama, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Thus, it is important that you consult a qualified civil litigation attorney before you file any type of lawsuit in Decatur, Alabama.