Whether you have been sued, or are planning to sue, you can win your case at various stages of the litigation. You must understand the law as well as the applicable procedural rules. You will win a case if you can show that your opponent missed a filing deadline, has no legitimate cause of action, spoiled or destroyed evidence, or doesn’t have strong enough evidence to win at trial.
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For people dealing with a personal injury claim, a landlord-tenant dispute, a small business scrape or any of the dozens of other possible legal muddles, this book points the way through the complex court system. The book also ncludes a chapter dealing with the specifics of handling a divorce, child custody or child support action.Written in plain English, Represent Yourself in Court breaks down the trial process into easy-to-understand steps so that you can act as your own lawyer -- safely and efficiently. Veteran attorneys Bergman and Berman-Barrett tell you what to say, how to say it, even where to stand when you address the judge and jury.Armed with the simple but thorough instructions in Represent Yourself in Court, you can be heard and taken seriously in any courtroom. Readers learn how to: X file court papers X handle depositions and interrogatories X comply with courtroom procedures X pick a jury X prepare your evidence and line up witnesses X present your opening statement and closing argument X cross-examine hostile witnesses X understand and apply rules of evidence X locate, hire and effectively use expert witnesses X make and respond to your opponent's objections X get limited help from an attorney on an as-needed basis X monitor the work of an attorney if you decide to hire one Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, this book will help you confidently handle a divorce, personal injury case, landlord/tenant dispute, breach of contract, small business dispute or any other civil lawsuit.
If, upon review of your case information, the attorney determines that you have a very strong case and that State’s case may be weak, one option is to fight the case by going to trial. The decision to go to trial is always the client’s decision. Depending on the charge and the jurisdiction, this may mean a bench trial, meaning a single judge presides and makes a decision as to your guilt or innocence, or a jury trial, meaning a jury of usually 12 people decides guilt or innocence. A trial usually takes quite a bit of time to be scheduled – in North Carolina a felony trial may take as long as a year or more schedule and in others it may take two years or even more. This is based on the severity of the crime you’ve been charged with and how busy the court calendar is.
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Study the statute of limitations for your state. Each claim brought by a plaintiff must be brought within a certain amount of time. For example, a breach of contract claim in New York must be brought within six years from the date of the breach. A lawsuit for defamation brought in Utah must be brought within one year. A prosecutor in Colorado must charge you with misdemeanor theft within 18 months of your alleged shoplifting.
If the facts in your case are questionable and there is significant risk for conviction at trial and the potential consequences are too high, an alternative to resolving your case by trial is to accept a plea agreement. It is important to have a criminal lawyer, whether hired or court appointed, helping you with your case, but this is especially true if you are considering a plea.
You won't win a lawsuit by simply striding into the courthouse and demanding money from your opponent. Each type oflegal claimhas a number of "elements" that you'll need to prove in order to win. For example, in a dispute over a contract, you must prove that a contract existed, that you held up your end of the bargain, that your opponent failed to meet his or her contractual obligations, and that you were harmed as a result. You'll want to plan ahead carefully to make sure that you can prove every element of your case -- or, if you are defending yourself against a lawsuit, to make sure that you can disprove at least one element of your opponent's case.
A trial can to be the most risky option for resolving a case. This is because a third party, meaning a judge or jury, is determining your guilt or innocence. Even in the strongest of cases, judges and juries have found defendants guilty in the face of significant reasonable doubt. While you usually have appeal rights of some sort if you feel you are wrongfully convicted, you must be aware when opting for a trial that you are leaving your fate open to someone else’s decision making. This means that if you are found guilty, you are subject to whatever consequence the judge decides upon consistent with the law.
A lawsuit begins when a complaint or petition, known as a pleading, is filed with the court. A complaint should explicitly state that one or more plaintiffs seek(s) damages or equitable relief from one or more stated defendants, and also should state the relevant factual allegations supporting the legal claims brought by the plaintiff(s). As the initial pleading, a complaint is the most important step in a civil case because a complaint sets the factual and legal foundation for the entirety of a case. While complaints and other pleadings may ordinarily be amended by a motion with the court, the complaint sets the framework for the entire case and the claims that will be asserted throughout the entire lawsuit.