Civil Litigation Attorney in Maine

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 What Is a Maine Civil Litigation Attorney?

There are two main branches of laws in the United States: criminal law and civil law. A Maine civil litigation attorney is simply an attorney who practices non-criminal state and federal civil laws in civil court.

Civil laws are the set of 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 matters related to civil disputes between private parties, such as family issues, contract disputes, and other civil matters. Additionally, civil laws also cover other matters, such as estate planning, probate, and guardianship.

In general, most civil law cases in Maine are cases that involve a tort. In Maine, state law recognizes a tort as an act or omission that leads to injury or harm to another party. Torts are considered to be a civil wrong for which courts impose liability.

Tort cases may be caused by a person or party’s negligence, intentional wrongdoing, or strict liability. It is important to note that if a tort is committed, Maine law grants the victim of the tortious act the legal right to civilly sue the person or party who allegedly harmed them.

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

  • Cases involving the negligent actions of another person, such as motor vehicle incidents;
  • Cases involving the fraudulent actions of another person;
  • Cases involving harming property, such as property destruction matters;
  • Cases involving intentional physical torts such as civil battery or assault;
  • Cases involving theft crimes, such as conversion or larceny;
  • Cases involving emotional torts, such as defamation, libel, slander, and/or an invasion of privacy.

In addition to tort cases, the other major types of cases that make up a significant portion of Maine’s civil court’s caseload are cases involving family law matters. Examples of common family law matters that are heard by Maine civil courts include issues surrounding:

  • Visitation and custody of children;
  • Spousal maintenance or alimony;
  • Guardianship of a minor;
  • Grandparent or other relative rights;
  • Child support;
  • The loss of parental rights;
  • Paternity and adoption;
  • Child abuse and child neglect matters.

When to Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

In general, it is advised that anyone who has a legal issue that may require a lawsuit consult with an attorney. Additionally, individuals who have been sued are always advised to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. This is because consulting with an attorney early on in your case can result in fewer legal issues arising at a later point.

A local Maine lawyer will be familiar with Maine’s civil laws and statutes, as well as the entire civil procedure process involved in suing a party for damages. Additionally, they will be familiar with the statutes of limitations (i.e., deadlines to file civil cases) and be able to ensure that you meet them. An attorney will also be able to advise you of your best course of legal action and answer any questions you may have regarding your case.

A civil litigation attorney will also be able to inform you about your chances of success in winning or defending your case. 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, the first thing that you should expect from your attorney is to keep you well informed of your case. In fact, attorneys are required to keep their clients informed.

This means that you should always expect your civil attorney to inform you of all of your settlement options and possible case resolutions, provide you with regular billing statements, and, most importantly, communicate with you regarding the current status of your case.

Generally speaking, an attorney will be able to represent you throughout all of the steps involved in a civil lawsuit, including:

  • Pre-lawsuit Step: During this step in your lawsuit, your attorney will meet with you to get an understanding of your legal issues and the facts of your case.
    • Then, if you choose to hire the attorney after a consultation, 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 a lawsuit, they will then draft the necessary lawsuit and properly serve it on the defendant;
  • Pre-trial Step: After your lawsuit is 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 hearings;
  • Trial Step: 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 arguing your case;
  • Post-trial Step: After your case has been concluded, an attorney may still be needed in order to help you collect damages, disburse funds, or file 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 widely based on the particulars of your exact case. The following is a list of factors that can affect the 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 they are bar-certified;
  • The attorney’s reputation in the industry;
  • The difficulty of the case;
  • Whether or not the attorney utilizes support staff, who bill at a lower rate, to handle the day-to-day management of the case;
  • The location in which the attorney practices, as different cities have different cost averages
    • For instance, attorneys who practice in Louisville and Lexington 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 to finish the case. This is because in civil lawsuits, almost every contract that is executed between clients and an attorney is an hourly fee agreement.

In an hourly fee agreement, an attorney agrees to take a case based on the client paying the attorney an hourly rate for their work as work is completed on the case. In most cases, an attorney will require a retainer to be paid before they begin work on a client’s case.

A retainer is an initial payment or deposit that is made by a client to secure the services of the attorney. The attorney will then bill against that retainer as they complete work in the case, such as by drafting documents, pursuing discovery, or representing you in court.

Do You Need a Civil Attorney?

Civil laws in Maine cover many different areas of the law, which require you to have a thorough understanding of the law itself, civil procedure law, and case law that applies to your jurisdiction. As such, if you are involved in a civil lawsuit in Maine or are seeking to file a lawsuit as a result of a legal issue that you are facing, then it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney in Maine as soon as possible.

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

As noted above, an experienced attorney will be knowledgeable about Maine’s civil laws and civil procedure. This means that the attorney will be able to represent you throughout the entire legal process, from pre-lawsuit to post-lawsuit. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent your interests in court, as needed.

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