Civil Litigation Attorney in Arkansas

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 What Is an Arkansas Civil Litigation Attorney?

An Arkansas civil litigation attorney is simply an attorney who practices non-criminal state and federal civil laws in civil court.

Civil law is the set of non-criminal laws that address the behaviors of one party that result in injury or harm to another individual or other private party. Civil laws also address other legal issues, such as family issues, estate planning, guardianship, contract disputes, and property disputes.

In general, most civil law cases in Arkansas involve torts. In Arkansas, tort law is the set of laws that govern civil cases where an injured party seeks legal recourse against another party whose actions or inactions resulted in harm or loss.

Tort cases in Arkansas are generally a result of a person or party’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. If you have been injured in Arkansas, the law grants you, as the victim of the tortious act, the legal right to civilly sue the person or party who harmed you.

Examples of the most common tort cases heard in Arkansas civil courts that pertain to civil laws include:

  • Cases that involve the negligent actions of another person, such as motor vehicle accidents or slip and fall matters;
  • Cases that involve the fraudulent actions of another person;
  • Cases that involve harming property, such as 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 tort cases above, the other types of cases that make up a majority of Arkansas’ civil caseload are cases that involve family law matters, such as:

  • Issues involving visitation and custody of children;
  • Issues involving spousal maintenance or alimony;
  • Issues involving child support;
  • Issues involving guardianship;
  • Issues involving the loss of parental rights;
  • Issues involving paternity and adoption;
  • Issues involving child abuse and child neglect matters.

When to Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

In general, it is advised to consult with an attorney as early as possible in order to prevent missing an important deadline or having legal issues arise later. For instance, there are deadlines known as statutes of limitations that you must understand when filing your civil lawsuit. Filing your case after the deadline will result in the case being dismissed.

A local Arkansas lawyer will be familiar with Arkansas’s civil laws and statutes, as well as the laws concerning the state and federal civil procedure process. An attorney will also be able to ensure that you meet any required statute of limitations for filing your civil suit.

Further, an attorney will be able to advise you of your best course of legal action and answer any questions you may have regarding your case during the consultation. An attorney will be able to assist you in identifying the party responsible for your damages, if applicable. Further, if your civil matter is a family matter, an attorney will be familiar with the laws and civil process involved in pursuing those matters as well.

What to Expect from Your Civil Law Attorney?

As far as what you can expect from your civil law attorney, you should always expect your attorney to keep you well informed of your case. This means that you should expect your civil attorney to communicate all settlement options and possible case resolutions, as well as provide you with regular billing statements. In fact, attorneys are obligated to keep their clients informed of their cases.

The other thing that you should expect of your civil law attorney is that they will be able to represent you during all phases of your case. In general, an attorney will be able to represent you throughout the following phases of your lawsuit:

  • Pre-lawsuit Phase: During this phase, your attorney will meet with you at a consultation in order to get a general understanding of your legal issues and answer any questions you may have.
    • Should you choose to hire the attorney after a consultation, then your attorney will then attempt to resolve your case without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, such as by sending a demand letter;
    • If your attorney is unable to resolve your case without filing a lawsuit, they will then be able to help you draft the necessary lawsuit and properly serve it on the defendant party or parties;
  • Pre-trial Phase: After your lawsuit has been filed and served, your attorney will then conduct discovery, if necessary.
    • Discovery is the formal process by which one party will serve requests upon the other party or parties involved in the lawsuit to gather information to support their civil claims.
    • Your attorney will also be able to represent you at any in-person proceedings prior to a final trial, such as handling pre-trial motions or pre-trial hearings;
  • Trial Phase: If your case is not settled prior to trial, then a civil litigation lawyer will be able to represent you in court by presenting your legal claims to the judge or jury;
  • Post-trial Phase: After your case has been concluded, an attorney may still be needed if you need help collecting damages, disbursing funds, or filing an appeal.

How Much Does a Civil Attorney Cost?

As far as the total cost of a civil attorney, the cost of civil suit lawyers will depend on the specific requirements of your case. For instance, the following is a list of factors that can affect the total cost of a civil attorney:

  • 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 the attorney is bar-certified;
  • The attorney’s reputation;
    The difficulty of the case;
  • Whether or not the attorney utilizes support staff.
    • The support staff typically bills at a lower rate and commonly serves as the point person when it comes to communicating the day-to-day management of a case;
  • The location in which the attorney practices, as different cities have different cost averages
    • For instance, attorneys that practice in Little Rock, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith may have different rates from smaller cities;
  • The total amount of time that is spent either pursuing or defending the 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 because, in most civil lawsuits, an hourly fee agreement will be utilized.

In an hourly fee agreement, an attorney will agree to take a case based on you paying the attorney’s stated hourly fee for their work. Typically, an attorney will require you to make a deposit for a retainer before they ever begin work on your case. A retainer is an initial payment or deposit that is made to secure the services of the attorney. The attorney will then bill against that retainer as they complete work on the case.

For instance, an attorney may require an upfront retainer of $2,500. The attorney will then work the case, such as filing discovery to gather evidence, drafting motions and pleadings, taking depositions of key witnesses, and representing you in court for pre-trial motions or other in-person court matters.

If the attorney’s hourly fee is $250 per hour, then the retainer would be depleted after 10 hours of work on the case. Thus, the most important factor in determining the total cost of a civil attorney is the amount of time needed to finish the case.

Examples of other factors that could impact the total cost of a civil attorney in your case are other outside costs, such as court filing fees, expert witness fees, mailing fees, or process server fees. As such, it is important to go over all of the fees that may occur in your particular case.

Do You Need a Civil Attorney?

You may be involved in a civil lawsuit in Arkansas or may be seeking to file a lawsuit as a result of a legal issue that you are facing. In that case, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney in Arkansas as soon as possible.

A civil litigation attorney will be able to help you determine the state or federal 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 throughout the case. LegalMatch can assist you in locating a civil attorney and setting up an initial consultation with them.

An experienced attorney will be knowledgeable about Arkansas’s civil laws, case law, and state and federal civil procedures. This means that the attorney will be able to represent you throughout the entire legal process outlined above. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent your interests in court, as needed.

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