Litigation Lawyers in Mountlake Terrace
In Mountlake Terrace, Washington, civil procedure is exactly what it sounds like: it refers to the rules that govern how civil litigation is conducted.
The rules of civil procedure in Mountlake Terrace, Washington are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, affordable, simple, and fair as possible.
In Mountlake Terrace, Washington, civil litigation is often extremely complicated. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the rules of civil procedure can also be fairly complex. After all, they govern everything from the first document filed by the plaintiff, to the last ruling issued by an appeals court.
Major Mountlake Terrace, Washington Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: When somebody believes that they have suffered a legal wrong in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, and decide to file a lawsuit, the first document that they file with the court is usually the complaint. The complaint is very important, because it can frame the factual and legal issues, and set the tone, for the rest of the process. The complaint typically contains every factual allegation against the defendant that forms the basis of the plaintiff's lawsuit. It also contains a prayer for relief, in which the plaintiff lays out his or her desired remedies, if the court finds the defendant liable.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is usually the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer typically denies most, or all, of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If the allegations are factually correct, and the defendant knows this, the defendant might admit that the allegations are true, but because of extenuating circumstances, they should not be held liable. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that they did strike the plaintiff, but claim that they were acting in self-defense, which would negate or weaken the plaintiff's case.
Discovery: Once the complaint and answer have been filed in a Mountlake Terrace, Washington court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the process in which both sides of the lawsuit are required to disclose required evidence to one another. The lawyers for each side can submit written questions, which the other party is required to answer under oath, unless the information is privileged. Each side can also request any relevant documents, physical evidence, and can conduct depositions of witnesses and parties to the lawsuit.
Trial: In Mountlake Terrace, Washington, it's actually extremely rare for civil lawsuits to go to trial. Of all the lawsuits that are filed, only a tiny minority make it to trial. The majority are either dismissed, or settled. This is by design: the civil procedure rules in Mountlake Terrace are specifically meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. However, when a case does go to trial, it is for the purpose of a jury resolving all of the factual disputes between the parties. Each side will present evidence obtained through the discovery process, call witnesses, and make arguments on behalf of their position. Once the jury reaches a verdict (a finding of fact), the judge enters a judgment on the verdict.
How Can a Mountlake Terrace, Washington Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any significant legal issue in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, you can be pretty much certain that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
Civil Procedure in Mountlake Terrace, Washington can be pretty complicated. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.