Litigation Lawyers in Salem
If you are in Salem, Missouri and believe that some type of legal wrong has been committed against you, and decide that seeking legal redress will be worth the time and expense involved, you may wish to file a lawsuit.
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 Salem, Missouri civil litigation attorney.
The Salem, Missouri attorney you end up retaining will be able to advise you on whether you have a good case. If you do, they will also 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 Salem, Missouri
Consultation with your attorney: Before you continue in any legal action in Salem, Missouri, you should speak with a knowledgeable local attorney in Salem, Missouri. 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 Salem, Missouri 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. Salem, Missouri 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 Salem, Missouri, 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 Salem, Missouri Tort Lawyer Help?
This article gives you a basic picture of what is required to file a lawsuit in Salem, Missouri. 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 Salem, Missouri.