When you have been wronged somehow, the urge to resort to legal action is overwhelming. This guide will help you understand how to initiate a lawsuit and claim damages.
Before you initiate a lawsuit against the party or individual that wronged you, it is best to talk to them and inform them that you are thinking about suing. It is always best to try and work things out before entering the court of law. You can do this by crafting a demand letter that puts everything you require in writing. You can also try mediation but if nothing works, then resorting to legal action is the best option. But how to go about it? And in what situations can you file a lawsuit? The best you can do is learn how to sue someone, especially in specific cases.
Table of Contents
- 1 Right to sue someone
- 2 Do you really have a good legal case?
- 3 How To Sue Someone For Money
- 4 How to Sue Someone Who Owes You Money
- 5 How to sue someone in small claims court
- 6 How to sue someone for emotional distress
- 7 How to sue someone online
- 8 Reasons Why You May Not Want To Sue
- 9 Conclusion
Right to sue someone
The law grants you the right to take legal action against any person, company, or entity who has disturbed or hurt you in any way. By filing a lawsuit and suing someone, you can seek and avail justice for the losses – physical or mental, that you might have suffered because of the actions of the accused. The person who files the claim and takes the legal actions is called the plaintiff, and the person, company, or entity against whom the lawsuit is brought is called the defendant. Anyone can litigate for justice in situations where they feel they have a legitimate claim to seek compensation.
All you need to have is a filing fee and an attorney’s help. However, the court has the right not to hear for numerous reasons. Sometimes people file complaints when there is no valid case or controversy or no law to support the claim of the plaintiff, or it may simply be in the wrong court. Sometimes the plaintiff does not have standing, or too much time has passed.
Do you really have a good legal case?
First and foremost, the question you must ask yourself is if you even have a good legal case or are you just wasting time. Just because the neighbor’s kid drove a dune buggy on your lawn and led to a few thousand dollars in your landscaping bills doesn’t mean you need to hire an attorney to begin litigation. It might be important to you, but it might not be for others, and the lawyers might not be interested in taking up your case.
It is worth knowing that pursuing a legal claim might be a lot more expensive than the compensation you receive at the end in case of winning. So the first thing to do is push aside all your emotions and think logically. Is it worth going to the court for and spending money on? Be objective. You must have solid claims and proof of the burden you had to endure due to the actions of others.
Also, it is best to make sure if the defendant will be able to compensate. Vengeance won’t taste sweet if you end up winning only to know that the defendant has filed for bankruptcy. There is no need to get involved in the process of litigation that won’t compensate you. So do your homework before pursuing a lawsuit.
And lastly, one of the most important things to consider is if you are able to pay? Filing cases is not an easy task and definitely a costly one. The filing fees, witness reports, and payments for depositions are all very costly. It is best to ask for the attorney’s estimated fees and weigh whether it would be a smart option to settle or pursue legal action.
How To Sue Someone
Once you have tried everything to settle and manage damages outside of the court and decided to pursue legal action, you file a complaint. That is the document that formally opens a lawsuit. It narrates your side of the story and outlines the reasons explaining why you are suing. It includes all the legal basis for the legal action and gives a precise explanation of what claims you are bringing against the other entity. This may include; breach of contract, infliction of emotional distress, negligence, etc. in most of the cases, the attorney drafts the complaint on behalf of the client.
Once the complaint is finalized by the attorney, you are required to file that complaint with the court and serve it to the other party as a summons. It is a form issued by the court that informs the defendant that they have been sued and is required to appear in the court.
Such a document might say, “Here is your complaint. You have to respond to it by X-date in this particular court.” This marks the initiation of the lawsuit.
How To Sue Someone For Money
Are you in a situation where someone is refusing to pay the money to you? Have you been asking them for it for a long time, and they have ghosted you everywhere? Well, it is time to take legal action. But you might be wondering how to sue someone for money?
Luckily, small claims courts are popular for such cases of money settlements. These courts keep things simple and are very helpful for all those struggling to collect the money they are owed. Disputes in small claim courts are resolved quickly and are also very expensive.
With that said, it is still good to do your research, prepare and follow the right procedure to file a case. Here is a guide to how you can sue someone who owes you money.
How to Sue Someone Who Owes You Money
Before you begin to file a lawsuit, try to work things out. If you are suing a company or a large corporation, it is best to make sure that the right people are aware of the debt. If that still doesn’t solve the problem, write a ‘demand letter.’
It should state what is owed and also that you plan to take the case to the court in order to make sure the debt is paid. Sometimes that works as a threat and helps to get the response from the debtor as it proves that you are serious about the issue.
Once you have decided that suing them is the last option, make sure that the amount is in accordance with the monetary limitation in small claims court. There is a set amount for individuals and businesses and if your debt money falls within the range then you are good to take it forward.
How to sue someone in small claims court
Small claims courts are designated public forums where people can file complaints and have their legal disputes heard. These courts oversee informal proceedings where people can bring forward their claims.
These courts are courts of limited jurisdiction which means that “they can only hear specific types of cases.” Most small claims courts hear cases involving small amounts of money. You must check with your county and state to discover the limits.
Small claims courts can hear most types of civil court cases which include breach of contract disputes, personal injury claims, collection on debts or loan repayments, professional negligence claims, claims regarding the return of a renter’s security deposit or personal property, issues with contractors or home remodels, property damage claims, false arrest claims, slander cases, etc.
The cases that small claims courts do not hear include family law cases, name changes, and personal injury cases with severe damages or bankruptcy. Anyone can go to small courts and take legal action against any person or entity.
Here is the step-by-step guide to how to sue someone in small claims court.
1. Identify the defendant
This might seem simple, but it is not in most cases. If you are going to sue someone for wronging you, identify the entity solely responsible. For example, if you are suing for the damages caused by defective plumbing or wiring, you don’t only sue the plumber or the electrician. It is wiser to sue the contractor, too, in case the court decides that the fault was in the one who gave the instructions. Then it won’t matter which is held irresponsible; you will get the compensation from either. The same is the case if you get into a car accident caused by another car driver. Many times, the car is being driven by someone who is not the owner. So suing the driver won’t get the insurance company to pay for the benefits. It is advised to sue both the plumber and the electrician in order to collect the damages. All suspects and responsible individuals can be sued until the court finds who is responsible.
2. Request for payment
Before going to court, you must ask the other side for payment. Collect all evidence of this engagement whether it is in person, by email, or in writing. You need to tell the court how you did it and fill out a form alongside the demand letter.
3. Look for the right court to file your claim
Each state in the United States of America has their own small claims courts. You have to figure out which one to use according to your county. If you end up filling in the wrong court, your case will be immediately dismissed, and you will have to file all over again in the right court. To save your efforts and time, do your research. Usually, you can file the claim in the county where the defendant lives or does business, but it is best to check with small claims courts before proceeding.
4. Complete all documentation
The process of filing a lawsuit requires numerous forms that you need to fill out to prepare a claim. The legal advisor helps with the process as it is complicated, but it is a compulsory step. Forms such as Plaintiff’s Claim and others need to be filled out before the case proceeds.
5. File you claim
Once you have filled out all the required court forms, you are required to hand them over to the clerk of the court in order to file the case officially in the small claims court. There is a designated fee for filing, which you have to pay. Once you give all the forms to the small claims clerk, you get the court date. You can ask the clerk to adjust the timings that suit your needs too. If you are not a native English speaker, you can ask for an interpreter at the hearing. If you have some form of disability, you can ask for suitable accommodation. It is then important to adhere to the date of hearing and make sure that you have all your documents and papers with you. Missing the appointment can lead to the judge dismissing your case.
6. Serve your claim to the defendant
It is important to get someone from your side to serve your claim to the defendant. This informs them about your requirements, and details about the proceedings and trial. This must be done prior to the court deadline and served in a proper legal manner to the right person. Proof has to be submitted to the court also.
7. Finally, you go to the court
It is best to always plan what you are going to say in court, as you will be required to explain your side to the judge and give all important details about filing the claim. Try to be prepared for what the other party will say and respond accordingly. You must have all important documents, forms, and papers with you to support your claim. If you have witnesses, you can also take them with you.
8. Present your case
Courts are mostly very busy, so it is important to go before time and as soon as your case is called, present your case quickly. Such cases usually last for 15 minutes, so it’s necessary to be quick and brief. If the judge asks any questions, answer them directly and refrain from interrupting both the judge and the defendant.
How to sue someone for emotional distress
A traumatic event can not only cause physical injuries or result in damage but are many times the cause of emotional or mental distress. This is usually not easy to measure as compared to physical injuries. If you or a loved one are suffering emotionally due to the carelessness of another party, then you may be able to recover some damages by suing the accused party for emotional distress.
According to the legal system, emotional distress is defined as emotional misery brought on by the negligent or intentional act of another. This type of damage to emotional health and wellbeing can be recovered in courts through legal civil action. If you have the evidence to back your accusations, then you can go ahead with legal action. While the former ruling required the victim to obtain damages by proving physical injuries, today, that is not entirely necessary as sexual abuse or defamation does not cause physical injuries but leads to mental health trauma. Here are a few types of common emotional distress that lead to court hearings.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Loss of Consortium
- Humiliation or Defamation
- Mental Anguish
- Diminished Quality of Life.
The first step when suing for emotional distress is to document it. A doctor or psychologist must give a proper diagnosis to ascertain the claim. Doctors usually diagnose you with post-traumatic stress disorder due to the action of another.
In order to pursue the claim in court, the incident that resulted in the emotional distress must be extreme enough to cause a certain degree of emotional harm. For Example, if you have been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, it can result in ways other than physical injuries. Your mental health may be affected due to doctor’s appointments, financial stress,, and all the other injuries. Emotional hardship and mental breakdown can make it hard to recover fully from a traumatic incident. This type of emotional distress is a type of damage that you may claim compensation for.
How to sue someone online
The Internet is a whole world running parallel to ours. Today, most businesses and companies have shifted to online platforms to do business. Along with that, people use it to socialize and work. Technology has definitely made things a lot easier, but what happens when something goes wrong? Your package from an online business does not arrive, or you don’t receive payment for your work. Sometimes it is possible to use small claims court to get compensation from a person or business entity that you were wronged by online. But since the online world is a lot larger and expands across the entire globe, suing someone who is not located in the same place or country as you may be hard in fact it is quite impossible.
If, however, the person or business who has wronged you regularly transacts with internet customers in your area, then you can bring this lawsuit to your local small claims court. If the website that has wronged you conducts business in the area you reside and has offices or employees in the state even though it is an online business, it is definitely possible and advised to sue such online entities who scam or don’t fulfill their claims.
Plaintiffs who suffer online defamation can also go to their ISP or the website that hosts defamatory content like Facebook, Google, etc but cannot blame these entities for defamation. Only the person or entity that made the defamatory statement can be sued. This is done by the plaintiff by filing a suit in an appropriate state or court that is determined by the analysis of an attorney. Once the case is filed against the defendants who led online defamation, the court leads the trial to conclude your case for damages.
Reasons Why You May Not Want To Sue
Sometimes, suing isn’t the best option. Here are a few reasons why you may not want to sue and go through the hassle:
- You have to pay court fees, and unless you are able to get yourself a fee waiver, it can be an expensive process.
- If you lose or are unable to give the evidence for your claims, then the court can order you to pay for the legal costs of the individual you tried to sue.
- It is definitely not an easy process or a quick one. It may take even more than a year and involve a lot of work from your end, especially if you don’t hire a lawyer.
- If you win and the person sued still doesn’t pay, it is on you to collect the money.
Leading a legal action against a person, business or entity is undoubtedly not an easy task but if you are wronged and deserve to be compensated, then seeking the help of an experienced lawyer who is aware of all legal technicalities and complications of suing individuals or companies is the best way to move forward. Knowing the worth of your case, the implications of filing the suit,, and the right place to file it is crucial to do it right. Legal matters are complicated,, and it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced lawyer before taking legal action against someone.