There are many reasons as to why a person may want to sue another party. Whether or not that person has actual legal grounds to bring a lawsuit, however, will depend on a number of factors. Some situations are entirely straightforward and may be based on life experiences. Examples include serious car accidents caused by other drivers and medical practice cases wherein a surgeon performs an operation on the wrong body part.
Other situations may not be as clear as the ones mentioned in the above examples. In fact, there are some scenarios in which a layperson may not even be able to tell that they have grounds to bring a lawsuit.
Then there are some situations in which a person might usually be able to take legal action; however, for some reason, the set of legal facts in their particular case are not strong enough to make it past the initial stages of a lawsuit. As a result, the case will usually be dismissed.
As such, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a lawyer before you proceed with any legal action. You should also make sure that you hire a lawyer who specializes in the same area of law as your cause of action. For example, if you have been injured in a car accident caused by another motorist, then you would want to hire an attorney who handles personal injury cases.
On the other hand, if you believe that a government actor has infringed upon your first amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, then you should speak to a lawyer who specializes in handling cases involving constitutional matters.
Some other potential general causes of actions and the lawyers who specialize in those causes of action may include the following:
- If you have entered into a business contract with another party, you may be able to bring a breach of contract lawsuit against that party if you can prove that they violated the terms of your business contract. In this case, you would want to speak to either a business lawyer or a lawyer who handles corporate and/or commercial contracts.
- If a loved one was murdered during an incident involving a felony-robbery, you may be able to sue the criminal defendant for damages in civil court under a cause of action for wrongful death. This type of action would also require the help of a personal injury lawyer.
- If you are the custodial parent in a child custody case, you may be able to sue the non-custodial parent for failing to pay child support or back child support if you can show that they are behind on child custody payments. This type of case will involve asking the court to enforce a child support order. Thus, you should speak to a local family law attorney to find out if you have a valid cause of action.
- Finally, if you have suffered harm as a result of the actions of a trustee to a trust or a legal guardian of an estate, then you should contact a wills, trusts, and estates attorney in your area to determine if you can file a claim for breach of fiduciary duties.
Remember, just because you feel angry or upset over a dispute does not always mean that the facts of your case will be enough for you to take legal action against a party in court. You will also need to show that you suffered an injury, such as a financial loss or physical harm, due to another party’s actions.
You will also need to make sure that your action is appropriate for civil court and does not need to be brought by a prosecutor in criminal court. In the event that your case ends up being a criminal matter, you will have to report the incident to the local authorities who will then investigate your claim and send it to the district attorney for review.
While many criminal matters can be tried in civil court for victims to recover damages, it may not always be possible to do so in every case.
How Do I Know If I Have a Viable Lawsuit?
As previously discussed, it is very important that a person consult with an attorney to determine whether or not they have viable reasons to sue someone in court. A common place to start, however, is being able to demonstrate that they have suffered some type of injury.
This may include a physical injury or a financial loss. In some instances, a plaintiff may also show an emotional injury, but these are typically harder to prove and are not as widely accepted by courts.
The person whom the injured party wishes to sue must have been the cause of the injury in question. For instance, returning to the car example from above, a person who is injured in a car accident would sue the other person driving if they believe it was their fault.
One other important factor that will make a difference in determining whether an injured party can sue or not is being able to prove that they could recover monetary damages for their injuries. In other words, they would have to provide a valid legal reason under which the law would justify a legal remedy for their harm.
How Long Does It Take to Sue Someone?
In general, the length of time that it will take to sue someone will depend on a multitude of factors. These include: the number of issues in a lawsuit, the complexity of the laws involved, the types of laws involved, whether the case is being tried in state or federal court, and so on. In general, most lawsuits take an average of at least one to two years to fully settle.
Some timetables and procedures that may provide a clearer picture of why filing a lawsuit and seeing it to completion can take such a long time include the following:
- First, the plaintiff will need to decide whether to file a lawsuit or not and will need to do so before the statute of limitations for their case expires. Generally speaking, statutes of limitations tend to allow a plaintiff to file within two to three years from the date of an incident.
- Next, the plaintiff will need to hire a lawyer to take on their case. If the first lawyer they contact is the person whom they hire, the lawyer may conduct a short investigation into the person’s claim and attempt to settle the lawsuit with the opposing party prior to initiating an action in court.
- If the action is not settled, then the lawyer may recommend that the plaintiff file a complaint and summons in court. Assuming that the lawsuit is filed on time and that plaintiff still wants to proceed with a lawsuit, the opposing party will have roughly a month to respond to the complaint.
- Next, if the case is not dismissed, the parties will begin the pre-trial discovery process, which can take a long time. This includes gathering evidence, taking depositions, filing interrogatories, hiring expert witnesses, and so forth.
- If the parties do not settle before the trial date, then the case will proceed to trial. A trial can take anywhere from a few days to several months or possibly longer, depending on the case.
- After the trial court has issued an order, the party whom the court’s decision opposes can appeal the decision of the trial court if they want and have preserved their right to an appeal.
Again, all of these factors will vary based on different components of the case, specific procedural requirements, and the relevant laws. For instance, appeals must take place within a certain amount of time as must many other stages of a lawsuit like pre-trial hearings.
What is an Impending Lawsuit?
The term “impending lawsuit” refers to a lawsuit that is imminent or about to happen. This type of situation can arise when a person is threatening to take legal action against another party. In most cases, this party is usually a business.
As an example, imagine that a business promised to perform some type of service for a party under the agreed upon terms of their contract. Right before this service was due, the business asked the party for an extension to which the party agreed to accommodate.
Although the party agreed to extend the amount of time that the business had to perform the service, they made it clear that it would be a one-time extension and that they would sue the business if it failed to provide the service again by the second due date.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
As may be evident from the above discussion, you should truly consider hiring a lawsuit lawyer in your area if you intend to take legal action against another party. A lawyer who has experience with trying cases in court will be able to determine whether or not you have a viable cause of action and can thus file a lawsuit in civil court.
Again, the lawsuit lawyer whom you hire should be one who specializes in the area of law that you believe your case falls under, such as a personal injury lawyer for injuries sustained in a car accident. In the event that you contact a lawyer who does not have the appropriate expertise for your matter, that lawyer will be able to direct you towards the right type of lawyer for your case.
Once you have found the right kind of lawsuit lawyer to take on your case, your lawyer will be able to perform all of the necessary legal services for a trial. These include performing legal research, drafting required legal documents, and providing representation in civil court.
In addition, your lawyer can also answer any questions you may have about your case. They can provide valuable legal advice about the applicable laws that could potentially have an effect on the types of legal remedies you can recover if your case is successful.