Litigation Lawyers in Columbia
If you are a resident of Columbia, Tennessee 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 think that you may want to file a lawsuit, you should not make this decision lightly, and there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account. Obviously, you should never go into a lawsuit without at least consulting a knowledgeable Columbia, Tennessee civil litigation attorney.
The Columbia, Tennessee 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 Columbia, Tennessee
Consultation With Your Attorney: Before filing any lawsuit in Columbia, Tennessee, you should speak with a local attorney. Your Columbia, Tennessee attorney will be able to advise you on the merits of your lawsuit, and your chances of success.
Drafting a Complaint: Once you have decided to go through with filing a lawsuit in a Columbia, Tennessee 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 have drafted your complaint, you need to serve the defendant with it, and file it with the court. Columbia, Tennessee 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 strongly preferred to serve defendants in person (with a disinterested third party delivering the papers to the defendant). Sometimes, however, the defendant cannot be found, or is trying to avoid service, they can be served by mail with court approval.
Awaiting the Defendant's Response: Once a lawsuit has been filed, and the defendant has been served in Columbia, Tennessee, the defendant has time to respond. They typically do so by drafting an answer to the complaint, in which they deny the plaintiff's allegations, or assert a legal defense. If the defendant fails to respond within a set period of time, they will be in default, and you may be able to get a "default judgment" against them, in which all of your allegations against the defendant are treated as if the defendant admitted them, and you only need to establish that you've suffered losses that warrant the damages you're asking for.
How Can A Columbia, Tennessee Tort Lawyer Help?
As you can see, it can be an intricate and difficult process to file a lawsuit in Columbia, Tennessee, and it is, in fact, much more intricate than the basic outline you just read.
Therefore, it is critical that you consult a qualified civil litigation attorney before you file any type of lawsuit in Columbia, Tennessee.