Litigation Lawyers in Washington
If you live in , District of Columbia, and believe that you have sustained some form of legal wrong, you may wish to file a lawsuit against the individual who allegedly wronged you.
If you think that filing a lawsuit is a good choice in seeking redress, you should not rush into this decision. A lawsuit is a time-consuming and costly process. You should not make a final decision without talking to a Washington, District of Columbia attorney.
The Washington, District of Columbia attorney you end up retaining 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 Washington, District of Columbia
Consultation With Your Attorney: Before filing any case in Washington, District of Columbia, you should talk with a local attorney. Your Washington, District of Columbia attorney will be able to advise you on the merits of your lawsuit, and your chances of success.
Drafting The Complaint: Once you determine that pursuing a lawsuit in Washington, District of Columbia 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 typically 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. Washington, District of Columbia requires that lawsuits be served on defendants in a specific 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 Washington, District of Columbia, the defendant has time to respond. The most prevalent response is known as an "answer," in which they particularly address the factual allegations you've made against them, typically 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 given 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.
How Can A Washington, District of Columbia Tort Lawyer Help?
Filing a lawsuit in a Washington, District of Columbia court is a bit more intricate than the basic outline laid out above.
You should seek the advice of a knowledgeable litigation attorney if you are planning on filing a lawsuit against somebody who you think has wronged you in Washington, District of Columbia.