Civil Litigation Attorney in Delaware

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 What Is a Delaware Civil Litigation Attorney?

In short, a Delaware civil litigation attorney is simply an attorney who practices non-criminal federal and state civil laws in civil court.

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

In general, most civil law cases that are heard in Delaware involve either tort cases or family law cases. In Delaware, tort law is defined as any civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy.

In general, tort cases in Delaware are either a result of a person or party’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. If a person in Delaware is damaged personally or financially, the law grants the victim of the tortious act the legal right to civilly sue the person or party who harmed them.

Examples of common tort cases heard in Delaware civil courts that pertain to civil laws include cases such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, defective product cases, theft cases, or fraud cases, to name a few.

As mentioned above, the other type of cases that make up a majority of Delaware’s civil court caseload are cases that involve family law matters, such as:

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

When to Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

Generally speaking, if you are involved in an active civil lawsuit, and you do not have legal representation, then it is recommended that you consult with and hire an attorney immediately to protect your legal rights.

Further, if you have a legal issue that you believe may warrant a civil lawsuit, you are also advised to consult with and hire an attorney as soon as possible. Consulting with an attorney early on will ensure that you do not miss an important deadline or have legal issues arise later on in your lawsuit.

For instance, there are state deadlines known as statutes of limitations that you must understand and abide by when filing your civil lawsuit. Filing your case after these deadlines will result in your case being dismissed.

An experienced local Delaware lawyer will be familiar with Delaware’s civil laws and statutes, as well as the specific laws that are applicable to your case. An attorney will also be able to ensure that you meet any required statute of limitations deadlines for filing your civil suit.

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. In fact, attorneys are required to communicate with their clients and keep them informed of their cases. 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 detailed billing statements.

Additionally, you should also expect your civil law attorney to be able to represent you during all the phases of your case. In general, an attorney will be able to represent you throughout all of the following phases of a lawsuit:

  • Pre-lawsuit Phase: During this phase, your attorney will meet with you to get a general understanding of the legal issues and facts of your case.
    • Should you choose to hire the attorney after the consultation, then your attorney will likely 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 draft the necessary lawsuit and properly serve it on the defendant party or parties who harmed you;
  • Pre-trial Phase: After your lawsuit has been filed and served, your attorney may then conduct discovery, if necessary.
    • Discovery is the formal process by which one party serves requests for information or production of evidence upon the other party or parties involved in the lawsuit in order to gather information to support your 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 varies based on the specific requirements of your case. For instance, the following is a list of factors that can impact the total cost of your civil attorney:

  • The area of law that the attorney practices;
  • The attorney’s level of experience, as well as their reputation in their field;
  • The difficulty of your case;
  • Whether or not the attorney utilizes support staff
    • If the attorney utilizes support staff to handle the day-to-day management of your case, that will lower the total cost as they bill at a lower rate;
  • The location in which the attorney practices, as different cities have different cost averages
    • For instance, attorneys that practice in Wilmington, Dover, and Newark may have different rates from smaller cities;
  • The total amount of time that is spent on the lawsuit itself.

As far as the last listed factor, when it comes to calculating the total cost of your civil attorney, the amount of time that it will take the attorney to finish your case is the cost-determinative factor. This is because, in most civil lawsuits, an hourly fee agreement will be utilized to form the attorney-client relationship.

In an hourly fee agreement, an attorney will agree to take on a client’s case based on the client paying them their hourly fee. An attorney will also commonly require the client to make a deposit, known as a retainer, before they ever begin work on the case.

For instance, an attorney may require an upfront retainer of $3,500. The attorney will then work the case, such as filing discovery to gather evidence, drafting motions, drafting pleadings, attending court hearings, and taking depositions of key witnesses.

If the attorney’s hourly fee is $350 per hour, then the retainer would be depleted after 10 hours of work on the case. As such, the time needed to finish a case is the most important factor in determining the total cost of a civil attorney. Once again, support staff may stretch out a retainer for a longer period of time.

Do You Need a Civil Attorney?

If you are actively involved in a civil lawsuit in Delaware, or if you are seeking to file a lawsuit as a result of legal issues that you are facing, then it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney in Delaware as soon as possible.

An experienced civil litigation attorney will be able to help you understand 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 will also be able to answer any questions that you may have regarding your case. LegalMatch can assist you in locating an attorney near you and setting up an initial consultation with them.

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

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