How to File a Lawsuit


The process of a lawsuit begins with the proper service of a complaint and summons. Before a lawsuit can proceed, there must be a dispute between the parties that requires judicial intervention. Then, a plaintiff must file a complaint. In most states, the plaintiff must include a prayer for relief and request damages, in addition to any other facts that support her claims. In some states, the plaintiff must also file a counterclaim to resolve the dispute.

Whether you decide to file a lawsuit for monetary compensation or a restraining order, you need an attorney. An attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal system and ensure that you comply with any rules and deadlines you may have overlooked. If you fail to comply with these deadlines, it could mean the case is dismissed or is won without you. In many cases, there is a set procedure for filing a lawsuit, and this can differ between states.

In order to file a lawsuit, a plaintiff must file a complaint against the defendant. This complaint describes the harm the defendant has caused the plaintiff. The plaintiff may also seek monetary compensation from the defendant, or seek an injunction. Once the plaintiff has filed the complaint, a court officer must serve the complaint and summons to the defendant. This process provides the defendant with a basic description of the case and an anticipated deadline for reply.

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