Litigation Lawyers in Bellingham
Residents of Bellingham, Washington who suffer legal wrongs are typically legally entitled to compensation for harm they incurred as a result. This compensation is typically obtained by filing 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 Bellingham, Washington civil litigation attorney.
Once you have retained an attorney in Bellingham, Washington, he or she will be able to help you devise a strategy on how to proceed, which will hopefully maximize your chances of success in your lawsuit. Your lawyer can also provide you a rough idea of how much the lawsuit is likely to cost, taking into account court fees, expert witness fees, and other costs.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Bellingham, Washington
Consultation with your attorney: Before you file a lawsuit in a Bellingham, Washington court, you need to meet and confer with a local lawyer. You lawyer in Bellingham, Washington can advise you on whether or not your lawsuit has merit, and how possible it is to prevail.
Drafting The Complaint: In Bellingham, Washington, the initial step in filing a lawsuit is drafting a complaint. The complaint is a document that lays out all of your allegations against the person you're suing. It usually provides necessary background information, details the injuries you suffered, and why the person you're suing is to blame for those injuries. It also usually contains a specific "prayer" (request) for relief - a brief statement telling the court what the plaintiff is asking of it, such as monetary damages, and injunction, or other relief.
Serving The Defendant: Once you have drafted your complaint, you need to serve the defendant with it, and file it with the court. Bellingham, Washington 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 highly preferred to serve defendants in person (with a disinterested third party delivering the papers to the defendant). Occasionally, however, the defendant cannot be found, or is trying to avoid service, they can be served by mail with court approval.
Await Defendant's Response: When you have served the defendant with the complaint in Bellingham, Washington, the defendant has time to respond. The most prevalent response is known as an "answer," in which they particularly 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 Bellingham, Washington Tort Lawyer Help?
This simple outline is meant to give you a basic idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in Bellingham, Washington, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Thus, if you want to file a lawsuit against someone in Bellingham, Washington, you should not delay to talk with an attorney, who will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed.