Litigation Lawyers in Whatcom County
In Whatcom County, Washington, civil procedure is precisely what it sounds like: it refers to the laws that control how civil litigation is done.
The rules of civil procedure in Whatcom County, Washington are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, inexpensive, simple, and fair as possible.
In Whatcom County, Washington, civil litigation is frequently extremely confusing. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the rules of civil procedure can also be fairly complicated. After all, they govern everything from the first document filed by the plaintiff, to the last ruling issued by an appeals court.
Major Whatcom County, Washington Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In Whatcom County, Washington the initial step in suing somebody (after speaking with a lawyer to determine if you have a case) is typically filing a complaint. The complaint is also one of the most significant documents in the civil litigation process. By laying out the wrongs that the plaintiff alleges the defendant has committed, as well as the remedies that the plaintiff wants the court to provide, it can set the tone for the entire rest of the case.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is typically the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer normally 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 instance, 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 Whatcom County, Washington court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the procedure in which both sides of the lawsuit are obligated to disclose obligated 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: it's truly very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Whatcom County, Washington, because the rules of civil procedure in Whatcom County, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely done by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. Nonetheless, when neither of these things is possible, both sides of the lawsuit will have to hash it out in a trial, which can be the most stressful and expensive step in the process. It involves both sides of the case presenting their evidence and arguments to a jury and judge, and letting them determine the issues.
How Can a Whatcom County, Washington Lawyer Help?
If you're facing a lawsuit in Whatcom County, Washington whether as the plaintiff or defendant, you will have to interact with your jurisdiction's civil procedure rules.
Civil Procedure in Whatcom County, Washington can be pretty confusing. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.