Steps of a Lawsuit

When you enter into a law suit, there are generally a set pattern of steps that are taken between when you seek the counsel of an attorney and when your case comes to resolution. It is important to understand and follow those steps, per the advice of your counsel, in order to come to adequate legal remedy for the loss that you have suffered.

The first step in most lawsuits is a demand. In this step, you will put in writing to the other party the wrongs you have suffered and the remedy that you seek. This invites the other party to respond. Once an initial communication of the factors in a lawsuit has been initiated, the principle law in the lawsuit may contact the other party's lawyer to follow up. After that time, it may be possible for the lawyers for all parties to arrange for discussions to occur before the case would proceed to a trial. In the cases of minor wrongs that have been suffered, pre-litigation discussions may provide an adequate remedy to seek damages rather than proceeding to court.

When these methods fail to bring the case to a satisfactory solution, the second phase of a lawsuit is the filing of a formal suit with the appropriate court system. At that time, the plaintiff has the defendant served with notice that they are being sued and with the details of that suit. The defendant will then have a certain period of time within which to respond. The judge assigned to the case will evaluate the suit and response and set a time for the trial to proceed. Before the date of the trial, both parties will go through a period of discovery, where relevant documentation is produced by both sides to show the merits or the facts of their individual cases. This paperwork will be exchanged between parties and also shared with the court. Both parties may make pre-trial motions to the court, as well, covering any number of issues such as stipulating to certain facts, compelling certain actions, or determining alternate venues.

Finally, a case will proceed to trial. During the trial, each party will have the opportunity to present to the court with the information that is most relevant to their side of the case. The judge and potentially jury will examine the merits of the case and determine a conclusion. In this final phase, any damages that have been awarded may then be collected by the plaintiff, after any post-trial motions have been resolved.

If you have been sued, or wish to receive damages in a lawsuit, you should consult with an attorney near you today.