Litigation Lawyers in Merrillville
If you live in Merrillville, Indiana and think that you might be the victim of a legal wrong, you may decide that it's worth suing over, to recover compensation from the person who wronged you.
If you wish to file a lawsuit, there are various things you need to consider, and the decision to sue someone should not be made without the counsel of a Merrillville, Indiana civil litigation attorney.
When you hire a civil litigation lawyer in Merrillville, Indiana, they'll be able to give you some very useful advice, particularly in devising a strategy that maximizes your chances of winning your lawsuit. You'll probably also wonder how much this lawsuit is going to cost you, especially if you don't win. This largely depends on the attorney's fee structure. If the attorney charges an hourly rate, you will simply have to pay the lawyer for every hour they work. This can add up to a huge amount of money, very quickly. If they charge on a contingency basis, you do not have to pay any attorney's fees unless you win, and payment comes in the form of the percentage of the judgment. However, if you lose, you might still be responsible for costs, such as court fees, which are incurred no matter what happens to the case.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Merrillville, Indiana
Consultation with your attorney: Before you file a lawsuit in a Merrillville, Indiana court, you need to meet and confer with a local lawyer. You lawyer in Merrillville, Indiana can advise you on whether or not your lawsuit has merit, and how likely it is to succeed.
Drafting a Complaint: Once you have decided to go through with filing a lawsuit in a Merrillville, Indiana court, you need to draft a complaint, with the help of your lawyer. A complaint is typically 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 typically gives the plaintiff a chance to re-submit the complaint, with the errors corrected.
Serving The Defendant: Once you, or your lawyer, have drafted a complaint, the defendant must be served with it, so they have notice that they're being sued, and are given time to prepare a defense. Merrillville, Indiana has particular rules governing how a complaint must be served, for the service to be valid. Personal service (having someone give the documents directly to the defendant) is preferred. However, some courts will also accept service by mail in limited circumstances, or service upon an adult member of the defendant's household.
Await Defendant's Response: When you have served the defendant with the complaint in Merrillville, Indiana, the defendant has time to respond. The most prevalent response is known as an "answer," in which they specifically 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 Merrillville, Indiana Tort Lawyer Help?
This article gives you a basic picture of what is required to file a lawsuit in Merrillville, Indiana. However, it should not, under any circumstances, be read as a complete guide to the litigation process.
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 Merrillville, Indiana.