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How to Sue Someone in NYC
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You may have gone your entire life without having to sue someone or even thinking about it. Unfortunately, we sometimes end up in a place where we have to consider this as an option. While this can seem like a daunting task, you can do some research to learn how to sue someone in NYC, and you can speak with an experienced attorney. The lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have been handling civil claims for decades. All of our lawyers are highly trained and experienced in negotiating and litigating. If you need help with a potential lawsuit, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.
Process of Filing a Lawsuit
Many people think that filing a civil lawsuit against another party is simple and something that doesn’t require a lawyer. While there is no legal requirement that a lawyer should be involved in a civil claim, unless you have a legal background and specific legal training, it’s always advisable to speak with a professional. It’s helpful if you know the basics surrounding lawsuits and the process so you can advocate for yourself, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do everything on your own. Lawsuits differ based on the circumstances, but the basic process for filing a civil claim in New York includes the following steps:
Filing: The first step in any court case is filing papers with the court to initiate the lawsuit. Once you file the paperwork, the party that you are suing needs to be notified. This is known as being served. The lawsuit cannot go forward if the other party isn’t aware that it exists. It’s also important to remember that there are court fees associated with filing a lawsuit that you will be required to pay. If you’re unable to afford the fee, you can ask the court for a waiver.
Discovery: One of the next steps in civil trials is discovery. During discovery, you exchange information with the party whom you filed a lawsuit against. This is how you will learn the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Discovery usually includes speaking with witnesses, gathering medical records, obtaining insurance information, and anything else that could be relevant to your case.
Other primary aspects of discovery can include interrogatories and depositions. Interrogatories are questions that you send the other party that they are required to answer. The questions are designed to provide information that will help the parties prepare for trial. Depositions are interviews that are done in person, with the answers being recorded and under oath.
When you hire an attorney, they will handle the discovery process for you, as you may not know how to sue someone in NYC unless you are a trained professional.
Pretrial: After discovery is complete, there are pretrial issues that may need to be dealt with. In this stage, each party can file motions with the court, such as a motion to suppress or a motion to dismiss the case. Here, your lawyer will determine which witnesses they will call when the case goes to trial. It’s also at this stage that you will likely be negotiating with the other party to try to come to a fair settlement instead of going to trial. The majority of civil claims end up settling, so this is an important step. Negotiations can happen earlier on, but this is a common time for them to occur.
Trial: If you’re unable to come to an agreement with the other side regarding a fair settlement, the case will be set for trial. At trial, both parties will present their witnesses and evidence to the court, and there will be a chance to question your own witnesses and the other party’s witnesses. A trial can take days or even months, depending on the complexity of the issue. The verdict will be decided by a judge or a jury. In almost all types of civil claims in New York, you will be able to demand a jury trial if you wish. This is something you should discuss with your lawyer, as they will be able to provide you with information to help you decide which type of trial will be best for your particular circumstance.
Post-Trial: Finally, once the trial is over, you are in the post-trial phase. If you lose at trial, this is when you and your attorney will be able to appeal the decision. If you won your case, you will need to get a judgment from the court, which in most civil cases is an order for the losing party to pay the winning party. If the other party refuses to pay, you may need to take further steps to collect the judgment. This is another important step that an attorney can help you with.
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How Can I Choose the Right Lawyer?
Once you decide to file a lawsuit, the most important step is to find an experienced lawyer who can give you the best chance at success. If you’ve never dealt with the legal system before, this can seem like a daunting task. When choosing a lawyer, consider the following:
Ask For Referrals
One of the best ways to find a qualified lawyer is to ask friends and family for referrals. Does anyone you trust have experience with a lawyer who helped them with a similar issue? Do your friends have any colleagues who are attorneys that they could ask for referrals? If you have a friend or family member that used a lawyer in the past, make sure their experience is relevant. For example, if your friend used a fantastic lawyer who specialized in criminal law and you need to file a medical malpractice case, this is probably not the lawyer for you. Your friend could ask this trusted lawyer for a medical malpractice referral, though. This way, you have some personal connection to the attorney instead of just choosing someone you know nothing about.
Search Online and Check Reviews
If you don’t have any friends or family members that can give you a referral, the best way to find a lawyer is online. You can search for lawyers in your area that specialize in your particular issue. Go through their websites and make a list of some of the lawyers you think could be a good fit. After you’ve made this short list, you should Google them and look for reviews of each lawyer. If one of them has several negative reviews, you probably want to keep looking. Keep in mind that some lawyers have friends and family members post reviews for them, so they can’t always be taken at face value. If there are a significant number of reviews, though, it’s likely that many of them are genuine, and you can get a good idea of what that lawyer is like and how past clients feel about them.
Choose Someone Local
When choosing a lawyer, it’s important to choose someone local. Many people overlook this factor as they don’t realize the importance of this. When you hire a local lawyer, you can be certain that they’re familiar with all the state and city procedures in the courtroom. Additionally, local lawyers typically get to know and build relationships with judges and other attorneys. This can help with negotiations; if you choose a local lawyer with a good reputation and a high success rate, the other party will take you seriously and might be more willing to settle the case for a fair amount.
Experience With Your Particular Issue
Another crucial factor you should consider is experience with the issue you’re facing. If you find a lawyer that has 20 years of experience but has never handled your type of case, their experience won’t do you much good. If you need to file a medical malpractice claim, make sure you hire someone who has been handling medical malpractice cases for a significant period of time.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
For all civil lawsuits, you must file your claim within a certain deadline. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. If you fail to file your claim by this date, you will lose out on the ability to recover any monetary compensation through a civil lawsuit.
In New York, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is 3 years from the date of the incident. There are exceptions to this deadline in some circumstances. It’s always important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible so you make sure you don’t miss your deadline. While 3 years can sound like a long time, the sooner you file your case, the easier it is to obtain evidence and prepare your claim.
An important note is that medical malpractice claims have different statutes of limitations. In New York, you must file this type of claim within 2.5 years from the date of the incident. Again, there are exceptions that could alter this deadline, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a lawyer right away.
How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
The cost of an attorney varies depending on where you’re located and what type of case you are filing. For personal injury or medical malpractice cases, for example, you may not have to pay anything upfront. Most attorneys who handle these types of cases work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they don’t get paid unless they win or settle your case; their payment is contingent upon the success of your claim. This allows all people to have competent legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. There is no financial risk to you in filing a claim, and since the attorney only gets paid if they win, you can be certain that if an attorney takes your case, they believe you have a good chance of success.
In other types of cases, you might pay an attorney a flat rate or an hourly fee. This is something you should always discuss with a potential lawyer before hiring them or signing anything.
Contact Morgan & Morgan For Assistance
Filing a lawsuit can be a daunting experience, especially if you’ve never had to do it before. The legal system is complex, and if you don’t follow the rules to the letter, you could end up losing out on your chance to file a claim. Morgan & Morgan has been handling all types of civil claims for decades. We do all the hard work so you can focus on the emotional aspect of the case and get back to your day-to-day life. We have a team of lawyers and other professionals that will prepare your case from start to finish. Someone is always available to speak with you about your case and answer any questions you might have. If you are thinking about filing any type of civil claim, contact Morgan & Morgan today to set up a free consultation.