Litigation Lawyers in South Bend
If you live in South Bend, Indiana and think that you might be the victim of a legal wrong, you may determine that it's worth suing over, to recover compensation from the individual who wronged you.
If you wish to file a lawsuit, there are several things you need to consider, and the decision to sue someone should not be made without the counsel of a South Bend, Indiana civil litigation attorney.
When you retain a civil litigation lawyer in South Bend, Indiana, they'll be able to give you some extremely useful advice, especially 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 rapidly. 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 South Bend, Indiana
Consultation with your attorney: You should always speak with a South Bend, Indiana lawyer who specializes in civil litigation before filing any type of lawsuit in a court in South Bend, Indiana. Your lawyer will have essential information and advise, helping you decide whether or not your chances of success in the lawsuit make it worth your while to proceed.
Drafting a Complaint: Once you have decided to go through with filing a lawsuit in a South Bend, Indiana court, you need to draft a complaint, with the help of your lawyer. A complaint is usually the initial 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 legitimate 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 usually 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. South Bend, Indiana has specific 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 the Response: The defendant in South Bend, Indiana has an chance to respond to the allegations against them. They have several 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 essentially operates as a denial). Usually, 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.
How Can A South Bend, Indiana Tort Lawyer Help?
The basic outline above does not come close to covering all the specifics involved in filing a lawsuit in South Bend, Indiana.
If you have suffered a legal wrong in and decide to sue the person who you believed wronged you, you should consult with a qualified South Bend, Indiana attorney.