Civil Litigation Attorney in Missouri

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 What Is a Missouri Civil Litigation Attorney?

A civil litigation attorney in Missouri is an attorney who exclusively represents people who are parties to civil lawsuits. Civil litigation attorneys may be distinguished from other attorneys who deal with civil law, but only handle issues that do not involve lawsuits. Examples of services of this type would be preparing the initial public offering of a company’s stock. or forming a limited liability company for some owners.

A civil litigation attorney, or “litigator,” represents clients who are parties to a lawsuit involving civil law in a civil court. They have special knowledge about civil procedure, the rules that govern how lawsuits should proceed in court, and the other. Their clients hire them either to file and prosecute a civil lawsuit or to defend them in a civil lawsuit in which they have been named as a defendant.

A civil litigation attorney usually practices law in one of the following fields of law:

  • Commercial business disputes, e.g., partnership conflicts;
  • Personal Injury law;
  • Infringement on intellectual property rights;
  • Family law;
  • Bankruptcy law;
  • Landlord and tenant law.

Civil litigation attorneys may also be distinguished from lawyers who work in the criminal justice system. Civil law is a domain of the law that is different from criminal law. Criminal law deals with the definition of crimes and the punishment for them if a person is convicted of committing a crime. Generally speaking, civil litigation attorneys do not deal with criminal law. The procedures involved in criminal law and civil law are quite different from one another.

The lawyers in the state and federal criminal justice systems may be criminal prosecutors who work for the government agencies that prosecute the alleged perpetrators of criminal offenses. Then, there are criminal defense attorneys who defend people who have been charged with crimes.

When Should I Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

Definitely, when a person has been served with a complaint telling them that they have been named as a defendant in a lawsuit, they should consult a civil litigation attorney as soon as possible. A person does not have a long time to respond to a lawsuit, and they want to act quickly to get the process started.

Nowadays, a person may have some kind of insurance coverage, such as a homeowners’ insurance policy, a car insurance policy, or a professional malpractice policy, that would pay for the loss that may result from a civil lawsuit. So, one thing a person would want to ask their attorney is whether one of their insurance policies would cover the loss and the cost of representation by an attorney. A local Missouri lawyer would be able to help a person identify insurance policies that might help them.

In some cases, a person’s insurance company would pay a lawyer to represent the person covered by the policy. For example, if a person is sued for negligence in causing a car accident, their car insurance should pay an attorney to defend the person in the lawsuit.

What Should I Expect from My Civil Law Attorney?

When a person hires an attorney to represent them in a civil lawsuit, they can expect the attorney to do all the tasks required in the case. This is true whether the attorney represents the plaintiff, the person who starts the lawsuit, or the defendant, the person who is sued.

If the attorney represents the plaintiff, the attorney’s first step is to draft a complaint, the legal document that states the causes of action of the plaintiff and the remedy they seek. The complaint must be filed with the clerk of the appropriate civil court. The attorney should know in which court to file the lawsuit. After filing, the plaintiff’s attorney arranges for a copy to be served on the defendant.

The defendant then must file their answer to the complaint, usually within 30 days. The filing of the complaint, the answer, and related actions are all part of the “pleading” stage of the lawsuit.

When all of the pleadings have been filed, the pre-trial phase of a civil suit may start. An important part of the pre-trial phase of a civil lawsuit is the discovery process. The steps to discovery in most cases would include the following:

  • Identifying the evidence needed to prove their case or a defense to the case;
  • Planning the discovery so as to obtain the necessary evidence;
  • Executing the discovery plan;
  • Taking the depositions of witnesses;
  • Identifying whether expert witnesses are needed;
  • If expert witnesses are required, identifying the appropriate experts and preparing them to participate in the case;
  • Making requests for discovery to the other party, e.g., the production of documents; and
    Enforcing the requests made if the other party does not respond as the law requires.

During the pre-trial phase, each party evaluates the evidence that they obtain through discovery and investigation. They might discuss whether they can settle the case without going through a trial. If the parties cannot agree to settle, a civil attorney would prepare the case for trial and proceed to the trial of the case.

How Much Does a Civil Attorney Cost?

The cost of civil suit lawyers is impossible to specify. What lawyers charge in different geographic locations may be wildly different. Also, the total cost of a civil litigation attorney’s representation in any given case is going to depend on several factors.

One factor is how long the case lasts from beginning to end. If a case is resolved early in the process, the cost would be lower than it would be if the case proceeds to the end of a civil trial.

Generally, clients pay their civil litigation attorneys in one of three ways:

  • Hourly fee: The client pays their attorney a certain amount per hour of their work. The attorney bills the client for the total number of hours they have worked every month;
  • Contingency fee: Personal injury attorneys are usually paid a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the amount of money they win for their client. If they do not win an award, they are not paid;
  • Flat fee: Attorneys sometimes accept a single lump sum, or flat fee, as payment for handling a case. This might be true if the case is a simple bankruptcy or an uncomplicated divorce.

The cost of civil suit lawyers might also be affected by the complexity of the case if the attorney is paid on an hourly basis. If a case is straightforward and uncomplicated, the attorneys would have to spend fewer hours on it, and the total fees would probably be lower than they might be if the case were to demand a lot more of an attorney’s time.

How the attorney charges the client, whether a flat fee, a contingency fee or an hourly fee clearly is going to have an impact on the total cost.

In some cases, the law may allow the victorious party to collect their attorney’s fees from the other party. A local North Carolina attorney would be able to explain more.

Do You Need a Civil Attorney?

You might have been served with a lawsuit or believe you have reason to sue another person or entity. In this case, you should consult a civil litigation attorney in Missouri as soon as possible. LegalMatch.com can connect you to a qualified, experienced attorney who can give you the professional advice and guidance you need to get the best possible result for your issue.

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