What to Do When Taking Someone to Court
Nobody enjoys taking someone else to court. It might mean that someone owes you money, that you were injured and require compensation, or that you have family issues that can’t be solved outside of court. Typically, this all adds up to a stressful time. However, once you know what you’re doing, the whole process can become as painless as possible and, hopefully, you’ll be able to put the experience behind you. Here are some steps to take before the court date.
- Seek Legal Help
The first step is to seek legal help, perhaps by hiring an attorney. First of all, your attorney will determine whether or not you do need to go to court. In many cases, it’s preferable for both parties to avoid the court case entirely. If you don’t have a good case, your attorney can advise you on alternative options.
If you do have a case, then your attorney may be able to arrange a settlement out of court. This way, you will still be compensated, but without the rigmarole of court. The settlement may be less than what the court would award you, but it does get rid of the stress and the risk of not being awarded anything.
Contact an attorney as quickly as possible, so they can advise you from the beginning. This massively increases the chances of a successful result. Also, be aware that the other party will likely seek legal counsel, so you’d be at a disadvantage without an attorney by your side.
- Serve the Papers
If you do need to go to court, then you should contact the appropriate authority (such as small claims or family court) and inform them of your intentions. Generally, you will need to fill out a form, like a “Statement of Claim” and pay the filing fee. This will state the nature of your claim.
Next, send the document to the defendant. There are a few ways to do this, such as using the sheriff or a friend to serve the document. Another way is to use professional private process servers.
Unlike the sheriff’s office, a process service company is better equipped to serve your documents efficiently, as they aren’t overwhelmed by other matters. Also, you can be assured that they know the laws of civil procedure and are equipped to properly fill out an affidavit of service. This means that your case won’t be dismissed because of incorrectly filled out documents.
- Prepare for the Day
Once you’ve had the papers served and your attorney has prepared to make their case, you need to arrange your affairs for the day itself. Make sure to reschedule any other events so that you can make it to court on the day. Follow your attorney’s advice when dealing with the other parties, so you don’t hurt your case.Finally, you can make a good impression by dressing smartly and being quiet and reserved during the proceedings. You may want to rent a suit or dress for the occasion, so you can put your best foot forward.
Categories: Outside Contributors