Filing a lawsuit—or facing one being filed against you—can feel overwhelming. The good news is that the litigation process typically proceeds along the same track from beginning to end, so with a little learning, you can feel equipped to know what to expect. Here is how litigation happens and what you can expect as the case moves forward.
Consider the Costs of Litigation Before You Start
One thing to note before you file a lawsuit is that you should always keep the costs in mind.
- Lawsuits are not free for the filer
- Court fee
- Jury demand
- Motion filing fees
- Witness fees
- Ordering documents
- Personnel fees (e.g., investigators)
- Deposition fees
- Attorney fees
- Potential to pay other party’s legal fees during a loss
- An attorney can help you to understand whether the potential remuneration is worth the cost
Step 1: Filing the Case
The very first step in litigation is to file a suit.
- This is called a complaint
- Which laws were violated
- What damage was caused
- What compensation is being sought
- The defendant is notified of the intent to sue
- May file an answer to the complaint
- May file a motion to dismiss
- Points out problems with the complaint
- Alleges the law was not broken
- Deadlines are established
Step 2: The Discovery Process
Once the case is set to proceed, discovery begins. Discovery involves each side gathering important information that will be shared later or built into the arguments.
- Request for production
- Request for admissions
- Furnishing evidence from witnesses (e.g., documents)
Step 3: Possible Summary Judgment
At this stage, either the plaintiff or defendant can ask the court for a summary judgment.
- The lawsuit can end here
- The judge reviews evidence that both sides agree on to make a decision right then
- The judge will be examining the case to see if they award in favor of the party who asks for the summary judgment
- If the judge does not rule in favor of either party, the case proceeds
Step 4: Proceeding to Trial
If summary judgment or settling out of court have not worked so far, the lawsuit will move on to a trial in a courtroom.
- An attorney represents each side, or a party may represent themselves
- A jury may be present
- The case hearings my occur over several days
- The jury or judge may need time to make a decision and review evidence
Trust the Legal Professionals to Help You Navigate a Lawsuit
If you are involved in a lawsuit or wish to file one, it can be difficult to understand the potential costs versus the benefits and time commitment. The attorneys at KPPB LAW would be happy to help you get a better idea of how to proceed. Reach out to schedule an consultation to share your situation, ask questions and get started on your legal proceedings.