File a Lawsuit in 3 Simple Steps

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

it’s finally time to take that terrible businessman to court. But first, you have to file your case. You’ve never done this before, and you are nervous about it.

Filing a lawsuit can seem like an intimidating task, but it is only as  as you make it. Many people go through the process, with over 40 million cases being filed in the United States every year. If you are diligent in your efforts, you stand a good chance of winning your case.

If this is your predicament, here are the three steps you should go through to file your lawsuit.

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  1. File the Complaint

The first step is the most obvious one: file the complaint or petition. However, be sure to research your statute of limitations on what you are filing, which varies between states.

A complaint is a general statement of the plaintiff’s claims and must include the violation. It also must establish the jurisdiction of the court it has been filed in. This means you cannot file a lawsuit for custody of children in a court that handles criminal offenses.

The type of lawsuit filed can also vary from individuals to corporations. To read more specifically on what can be done in each case, see here.

  1. Service of Process

The next step is the service of process. It involves giving a copy of the complaint filed to a summons that is served to the defendant.

The summons explains the procession of events to the defendant and the certain rights that they possess in the proceedings.

The summons explains:

  • The defendant is being sued
  • The name of the Court in which they are being sued
  • The timeframe in which they must file an answer
  • A default judgment will be entered if no answer is filed on time

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  1. Wait for an Answer 

The last step to begin proceedings is simply waiting for the answer from the defendant. As stated before, they have a certain time to file a response to your complaint and it will result in default if there is no answer.

However, in the answer the defendant can tell their side of the story; admit to the truth of what happened and deny any allegations if they are not true. They are also able to enter counterclaims in this part.

From here you move into motions and further proceedings, but these three steps will get you prepared for the possibility that the lawsuit can be long and drawn out.

Having a Successful Lawsuit

A lawsuit is not a fun thing to go through, but if you are prepared it can go easier than you expect.

Knowing is half the (legal) battle, and you want to put your best foot forward. In all of this, be sure you find the right lawyer to represent you and your interests; knowing maybe half the equation, the other half is having good legal counsel.

For other great articles like this about law, be sure to browse the rest of our blog.