Litigation Lawyers in Erie County
If you are a resident of Erie County, Pennsylvania and believe that somebody has committed a legal wrong against you, and have decided that the effort and expense involved in seeking compensation is worth it, you may consider filing a lawsuit.
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 an Erie County, Pennsylvania civil litigation attorney.
When you retain a civil litigation lawyer in Erie County, Pennsylvania, 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 Erie County, Pennsylvania
Consultation with your attorney: Before you proceed with any legal action in Erie County, Pennsylvania, you should seek the advice and counsel of a good Erie County, Pennsylvania attorney. He or she will be indispensable in helping you succeed in your lawsuit.
Drafting The Complaint: In Erie County, Pennsylvania, the first step to filing a lawsuit, once you've actually decided to do so (in consultation with your attorney), is writing a complaint. A complaint is simply a list of facts that you allege against the defendant. A court must look at these allegations and determine if they add up to a valid cause of action, assuming they're true. If they do not add up to a cause of action, the case may be dismissed. The complaint also usually ask the court to provide specific relief, should it rule in the plaintiff's favor.
Serving the Defendant: When you have decided that you want to file a lawsuit in Erie County, Pennsylvania, and have drafted the complaint, your next major step is to file the complaint with the court, and serve it on the defendant. The defendant must be given at least several weeks' notice that they're being sued, and as much time to review the complaint. This is a matter of basic fairness and due process, and allows the defendant to hire a lawyer and get to work on a defense. The law requires that the defendant be served in a few specific ways. The first choice is to give it to them in person. This has to be done by a person who does not have any direct involvement in the lawsuit. If that isn't possible, the defendant can be served by giving the complaint to another adult member of their household; this is called substituted service.
Await Defendant's Response: When you have served the defendant with the complaint in Erie County, Pennsylvania, the defendant has time to respond. The most common response is known as an "answer," in which they specifically address the factual allegations you've made against them, usually 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 certain 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 Erie County, Pennsylvania Tort Lawyer Help?
This simple outline is meant to give you a general idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in Erie County, Pennsylvania, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
You should seek the advice of a qualified litigation attorney if you are planning on filing a lawsuit against somebody who you think has wronged you in Erie County, Pennsylvania.