Filing a Lawsuit in Madison County, Alabama
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If you're considering filing a lawsuit, there are many 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 Madison County, Alabama civil litigation attorney first.
Once you retain a Madison County, Alabama 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 Madison County, Alabama
Consultation with your attorney: Before you continue in any legal action in Madison County, Alabama, you should speak with a brilliant local attorney in Madison County, Alabama. 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 Madison County, Alabama court, you need to draft a complaint, with the help of your lawyer. A complaint is normally the first 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 valid 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 have drafted your complaint, you need to serve the defendant with it, and file it with the court. Madison County, Alabama requires that lawsuits be served on defendants in a particular 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 strongly preferred to serve defendants in person (with a disinterested third party delivering the papers to the defendant). Sometimes, however, the defendant cannot be found, or is trying to avoid service, they can be served by mail with court approval.
Awaiting the Defendant's Response: Once a lawsuit has been filed, and the defendant has been served in Madison County, Alabama, the defendant has time to respond. They normally do so by drafting an answer to the complaint, in which they deny the plaintiff's allegations, or assert a legal defense. If the defendant fails to respond within a set period of time, they will be in default, and you may be able to get a "default judgment" against them, in which all of your allegations against the defendant are treated as if the defendant admitted them, and you only need to show that you've suffered losses that warrant the damages you're asking for.
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As you can see, it can be a complex and difficult process to file a lawsuit in Madison County, Alabama, and it is, in fact, much more complex than the basic outline you just read.
Therefore, it is imperative that you consult a qualified civil litigation attorney before you file any type of lawsuit in Madison County, Alabama.