Litigation Lawyers in Dallas
If you are a resident of Dallas, Texas and believe that somebody has committed a legal wrong against you, and have determined that the effort and expense involved in seeking payment 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 easily, 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 qualified Dallas, Texas civil litigation attorney.
When you retain a civil litigation lawyer in Dallas, Texas, 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 Dallas, Texas
Consultation with your attorney: Before you file a lawsuit in a Dallas, Texas court, you need to meet and confer with a local lawyer. You lawyer in Dallas, Texas can advise you on whether or not your lawsuit has merit, and how possible it is to prevail.
Drafting a Complaint: Once you have decided to go through with filing a lawsuit in a Dallas, Texas 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: When you have determined that you want to file a lawsuit in Dallas, Texas, and have drafted the complaint, your next important 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 general 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 initial 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 Dallas, Texas, the defendant has time to respond. The most common response is known as an "answer," in which they particularly 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 Dallas, Texas Tort Lawyer Help?
Filing a lawsuit in a Dallas, Texas court is a bit more complicated than the basic outline laid out above.
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 Dallas, Texas.