Civil Litigation Attorney in Alaska

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 What Is an Alaska Civil Litigation Attorney?

In the state of Alaska, a civil litigation attorney refers to an attorney that practices state and federal civil laws in civil court. Civil laws are the set of laws that address the wrongful behaviors of one person that result in some injury or harm to another person or other private party. This is opposed to criminal laws that criminally punish a wrongdoer for violating a law.

Civil laws also address other matters, such as family issues, estate planning, property disputes, guardianship, and other disputes between private parties. However, in general, most civil law cases in Alaska are based around a tort.

According to Alaska law the legal term “tort” refers to a civil claim for damages against a person responsible for causing harm or injury to another person. Tort cases are generally based on either negligence, intentional wrongdoing, or strict liability.

Importantly, if a tort is committed in Alaska, state law grants the victim of the tortious act the legal right to civilly sue the person who allegedly harmed them. Examples of the most common types of tort cases heard in Alaska courts that pertain to civil laws include:

  • Cases that involve the negligent actions of another person, such as car accidents or premises liability cases;
  • Cases that involve fraud;
  • Cases that involve harming property, such as intentional or negligent property destruction matters;
  • Cases that involve intentional physical torts such as civil battery or assault;
  • Cases that involve intentional property torts such as conversion or other theft crimes;
  • Cases that involve emotional torts, such as defamation, libel, slander, and/or an invasion of privacy.

In addition to the above tort cases, the other types of civil cases that makeup a significant portion of Alaska’s civil court’s caseload are generally family law cases. Examples of family law matters heard by Alaska civil courts, include visitation, custody, alimony, child support, paternity, and adoption. Child abuse and child neglect matters are also commonly heard in Alaska civil courts.

When to Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

It is generally advised to consult with and hire an attorney as early as possible if you are involved in a lawsuit or are experiencing a legal issue that you believe may require a civil lawsuit. Importantly, there is a general two-year statute of limitations in Alaska for tort cases.

An experienced civil litigation attorney will be able to ensure that you meet all of the state-required deadlines, such as the statutes of limitations. Additionally, consulting an attorney early on in your case can result in fewer legal issues arising at a later point in the case. Then, with fewer legal issues, you will save time and money.

A local Alaska lawyer will be most familiar with Alaska’s civil laws and statutes, as well as the entire civil procedure process involved in pursuing a civil lawsuit for damages. As such, a civil litigation lawyer will be able to advise you of your best course of legal action, in order to give you the best opportunity of favorably resolving your legal issues.

Further, if your civil matter is a family matter or other private dispute, an attorney will be familiar with the laws and civil process involved in pursuing those matters as well. It is especially important to hire an attorney for matters involving children, as having an attorney will ensure your parental rights are protected.

What to Expect from Your Civil Law Attorney?

As far as what you can expect from your civil law attorney, you should expect your attorney to be able to assist you with your case throughout every stage of your lawsuit. In general, an attorney will be able to assist you throughout all of the following stages:

  • Pre-lawsuit Stage: During this stage, your attorney will meet with you to gather an understanding of the facts of your case and the legal issues.
    • If hired, your attorney will likely then attempt to resolve your case without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, such as by sending a demand letter or negotiating a resolution with the opposing party;
    • If your attorney is unable to resolve your case without a lawsuit, they will then assist you in drafting the necessary lawsuit and properly serving it on the defendant;
  • Pre-trial Stage: After your civil lawsuit has been filed and served, your attorney may then conduct discovery, which is the formal process by which one party serves requests upon the other party or parties involved in the lawsuit in order to gather information to support their civil claims.
    • Your attorney will also be able to represent you at any in-person proceedings prior to the trial stage, such as attending any pre-trial hearings;
  • Trial Stage: If your case is not settled prior to trial, then a civil litigation lawyer will be able to represent you in court in front of the judge or jury by presenting evidence and arguing your case;
  • Post-trial Stage: After the trial stage, an attorney may still be needed in order to help you collect damages, disburse funds, or file an appeal if needed.

In addition to the above, the main thing that you should expect of a civil attorney is that they will always keep you well informed of your case. This means that you should always expect your civil attorney to inform you of all of your settlement options, provide you with regular billing statements, and, most importantly, communicate the current status of your case. In fact, attorneys are obligated to keep their clients informed of their cases.

How Much Does a Civil Attorney Cost?

As far as the total cost of a civil attorney, the cost of civil suit lawyers varies based on the specific facts and needs of your case. Factors that may impact the cost of a civil attorney include:

  • The area of law that the attorney practices;
  • The areas of law that the plaintiff’s individual claim encompasses;
  • The attorney’s level of experience, such as whether or not they are bar-certified;
  • The attorney’s reputation in the industry;
  • The difficulty of the plaintiff’s case;
  • The location in which the attorney practices, as different cities have different cost averages
    • For instance, attorneys who practice in Anchorage may have different rates from those of smaller cities;
  • The total amount of time that is spent either pursuing or defending your civil lawsuit.

Although it may seem obvious, the most important factor in calculating the total cost of a civil attorney is the amount of time that it will take the attorney to finish your case. This is due to the fact that in civil lawsuits, almost every contract that is executed between clients and an attorney is an hourly fee contract.

In an hourly fee contract, an attorney will agree to take a case based on the client paying the attorney an hourly rate for their work. Additionally a retainer must generally also be paid before they ever begin work on the case.

A retainer is an initial payment or deposit that is made in order to secure the services of the attorney. The attorney will then bill against the retainer as they complete work on the case, such as filing discovery to gather evidence, drafting motions, drafting letters, drafting pleadings, taking depositions of key witnesses, and representing you in court.

For instance, if your attorney requires an upfront retainer of $3,000, and the attorney’s hourly fee is $300 per hour, then the retainer would be depleted after 10 hours of work on the case. As such, you would need to replenish the retainer before the retainer has been depleted so the attorney can continue working on your case.

As can be seen, the most important factor in determining the total cost of a civil attorney is the amount of time needed for your lawyer to finish the case. However, there are also other costs that could impact the total cost, such as court filing fees, process server fees, support staff’s billing rate, mailing fees, etc.

Do You Need a Civil Attorney?

You could be involved in a civil lawsuit in Alaska or are seeking to file a civil lawsuit as a result of a legal issue you are facing. If this is the case, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney in Alaska as soon as possible.

An experienced civil litigation attorney will be able to help you determine the laws that apply to your specific case, as well as help you determine your best course of legal action. An attorney can also answer any questions that you may have regarding the facts and issues of your case. LegalMatch can assist you in locating an Alaska civil attorney and setting up a consultation with them.

As mentioned above, an experienced attorney will be knowledgeable about Alaska’s civil laws and civil procedure. This means that the attorney will be able to represent you throughout all stages of your civil lawsuit. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent your interests in court, as needed.

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