Filing a Lawsuit in Vestavia Hills, Alabama
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If you're considering filing a lawsuit, there are numerous 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 Vestavia Hills, Alabama civil litigation attorney first.
Once you have hired an attorney in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, he or she will be able to help you devise a strategy on how to proceed, which will hopefully maximize your chances of success in your lawsuit. Your lawyer can also give you a rough idea of how much the lawsuit is likely to cost, taking into account court fees, expert witness fees, and other costs.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Vestavia Hills, Alabama
Consultation with your attorney: You should always speak with a Vestavia Hills, Alabama lawyer who specializes in civil litigation before filing any type of lawsuit in a court in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Your lawyer will have crucial information and advise, helping you decide whether or not your chances of success in the lawsuit make it worth your while to proceed.
Drafting The Complaint: In Vestavia Hills, Alabama, 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 usually 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: 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 specific period of time. This is required under the law of Vestavia Hills, Alabama 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 Vestavia Hills, Alabama has an opportunity to respond to the allegations against them. They have various 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). Typically, 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 general idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Accordingly, it's always a good idea to speak with a Vestavia Hills, Alabama litigation attorney if you are contemplating filing a lawsuit against a person or company.