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Whether you are considering suing someone or you think you may be sued, understanding the process is the first step in achieving the best possible outcome. The case can settle (be resolved through voluntary agreement) at any point during the process.
Before a law suit is filed: When a dispute arises between businesses or individuals, there is almost always an opportunity to resolve it before a law suit is filed. At this stage, we can help assess the strengths and weaknesses of your position. We can also develop a strategy for protecting your rights or defending your assets. You must comply with time limitations in order to bring your claims or asserting your defenses should your efforts to resolve the dispute out of court prove unsuccessful.
If you are considering suing an individual or business OR if you think you may be sued: Before a complaint is filed in court, your attorney should almost always reach out to the other party and attempt to resolve the issues in dispute for two reasons. First, if your attorney can resolve the dispute before a law suit is filed his efforts will save you time, money and inconvenience. Second, you will have more control over the outcome than you will if you let a judge, jury or arbitrator decide the outcome of your case. If your attorney is not able to resolve the dispute at this stage, you can proceed with you lawsuit then. At any stage of the litigations process, the parties are free to enter a mutually agreeable resolution. Time, money, inconvenience and control will always be important components of the settlement analysis.
Pleadings (The Complaint, Answer, Counterclaims and Cross-claims): The Complaint is the first stage of the litigation process. It is the process by which a lawsuit is initiated. It must identify the parties, establish jurisdiction, set out the factual allegations and legal theories justifying the requested judicial relief. It must also describe the relief sought by the complaining party. The opposing party (the Defendant) must file a written Answer to the Complaint with in a specific period or time or else the court can enter judgment in favor of the Plaintiff. The Defendant may wish to assert claims against the Plaintiff or others if he or she has a legal basis to do so. This stage of the litigation process is the pleadings stage.
Discovery: Discovery is the stage of the litigation process that involves the exchange of information. Each party is entitled to submit written questions to the other including interrogatories, requests for production of documents and requests for admission. This is a time sensitive process and failure to respond within the allotted time can have adverse consequences. Each party and witness may be required to testify under oath in a deposition.
Motions: Sometimes one party or the other may file motions with the court asking to court to take action on a particular issue. Common motions include Motions to Dismiss Claims or Counter-claims, Motions for Summary Judgment, and Motions to Compel. Some Motions are dispositive, meaning that the case will end if the judge grants the Motion. The parties may provide the judge who hears these Motions with written briefs (arguments) to supplement their oral arguments. The judge may rule on the Motions right then in open court or take the issues under advisement and issue a ruling later.
Mediation: Mediation is an opportunity for each lawyer to explain his or her client's position to a neutral mediator and develop a cooperative resolution to all of the issues in dispute. The mediator will explain to the parties that is an opportunity to save the time, money, inconvenience and risk of trial. The mediator will explain to the parties that Mediation is an opportunity for them to have more control in developing a cooperative resolution than they would if their claims are decided by a judge or jury.
Trial: Some claims cannot be resolved cooperatively before or during the litigation process. These claims will be decided by a judge or jury after a trial. During the trial, each party will present relevant evidence through witnesses who will testify under oath. The trial will be conducted according to the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Evidence, the Local Rules, Civil Law, and sometimes the Business Court Rules. The judge or jury will determine who wins and who loses the trial. Either party may appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals where that party feels that there was a problem with the manner in which the trial was conducted.
How we can help: We aggressively pursue and defend the rights of our clients every stage of the litigation process. Sometimes our objective is to hold the other party accountable. Sometimes it is aggressively defend false allegations. Sometimes it is to minimize the amount that you will have to pay in the case of clear liability. In all cases, we diligently represent your interests in and out of court. We have the knowledge, skill and experience to take your case to trial. We also work hard to develop solutions that will accomplish your objectives without the risk and expense of trial.
3 More Things Your Civil Litigation and Real Estate Litigation Attorney wants you to know now:
Learn whether you have a case or a defense. Learn how you can manage your liability and your expenses efficiently and effectively. The decisions you make now may determine the outcome of your case. Get the information that you need in order to the make the decisions that give you the greatest opportunity for success. Do I have a case? Do I have a defense? What is involved in the litigation process? CLICK the "Civil Litigation" button for the answers to these and other questions.
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What is the best decision an injured person can make?
The best decision you can make is to call us now. We work directly with each client through every stage of your case. We combine negotiation skills, professional relationships, meticulous documentation and extensive familiarity with the entire process to maximize the benefit to you in your case.
Civil, Business, Commercial and Real Estate Litigation Attorneys Wilmington NC