Civil Litigation Attorney in Oregon

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 What Is an Oregon Civil Litigation Attorney?

An Oregon civil litigation attorney is an attorney who exclusively represents people who are parties to civil lawsuits. Civil litigation attorneys may be distinguished from other civil attorneys who deal with issues that are civil in nature but do not involve lawsuits; they are referred to as “transactional” attorneys.

Examples of transactional services are creating an estate plan for a married couple with adult children or drafting a prenuptial agreement for two people planning to get married.

A civil litigation attorney represents clients who are parties to a lawsuit that involves civil law and takes place in a civil court. 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. For example, a litigation attorney might represent a person who has been sued by a car accident victim for damages for negligence because they allegedly caused the accident.

A civil litigation attorney usually focuses their practice on one particular field of law. For example, they may limit their practice to one of the following:

  • 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 differentiated 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 definitions of crimes and the punishment for committing crimes. Generally speaking,

civil litigation attorneys do not deal with criminal law. The procedures involved in criminal law and civil law are quite different.

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

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 civil lawsuit, they should consult a civil litigation attorney as soon as possible. A person does not have a long time to respond to a complaint, and they want to act quickly to start the process.

Nowadays, a person may have some kind of insurance coverage, such as a homeowners’ insurance policy or a car insurance 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.

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 Can 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 handle every aspect of the case for them. 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 first drafts 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 what they need to prove to win their 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 required.

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 one location may be quite different from what they charge in another. Also, the total cost of a litigation attorney’s representation in a case is going to depend on several factors.

One factor is how long the case lasts from beginning to end. If a case comes to a conclusion 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. Generally, if an attorney represents a defendant, they charge an hourly fee;
  • 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 a lawyer’s representation 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 attorney would have to spend fewer hours on it, and the total fees would probably be lower. If the case is complicated or lasts a long time, it would demand a lot more of an attorney’s time. Thus, it would cost more.

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.

The law sometimes allows the party that wins a case to collect their attorney’s fees from the other party. A local Oregon attorney would be able to explain more.

Do I Need a Civil Attorney?

If you have been served with a complaint in a civil lawsuit, you want to consult a civil litigation attorney in Oregon at your earliest convenience. Or, if you think you need to initiate a lawsuit in order to protect your rights, you also want to talk to an Oregon litigator.

LegalMatch.com can connect you to an experienced litigation attorney quickly. Your attorney will be able to take whatever steps are needed to ensure that you have the best possible representation in your lawsuit.

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