How to File a Lawsuit

A lawsuit is a legal action brought by one person or entity (the plaintiff) against another person or entity (the defendant). It is usually based on a claim that someone has violated the law and/or caused harm to the plaintiff. The plaintiff asks the court to order the defendant to compensate them monetarily for their losses. Lawsuits can be expensive, so you should only file a lawsuit if you have a legitimate dispute that cannot be solved in another way. The law sets a limit on how long you can wait after the events that led to your complaint before starting a lawsuit—this is called the statute of limitations.

When you file your complaint, you need to include the most important facts of your dispute—who, what, where, when, and how. The complaint also needs to describe what you want the court to do for you. If you are requesting money damages, you need to specify how much you want and why you deserve it. You can also request “injunctive relief” to prevent the defendants from doing something that could cause you further harm.

You should use your best judgment when describing the facts of your dispute in the complaint. Sometimes you may want to include facts that you do not know personally. If you do this, make sure you use the phrase “on information and belief” and explain that you have a good faith basis for believing the fact to be true.

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