When and how to file a lawsuit in Chicago
If you are a resident of Chicago, Illinois, and have suffered some sort of wrong that you think has gone against your personal beliefs and principles, it is wise to file a lawsuit. However, before doing so, it is imperative that you get acquainted with some basic formalities so you steer clear of complications that may emerge mid-way through the proceedings and render a blow to your case.
When and How Is It Best To File a Lawsuit in Chicago?
You can proceed to court anytime you feel that your rights have been violated. All the same, you want to carry out a cost-benefit analysis so that you are sure that it is really the best decision to take. Remember, lawsuits have been filed on everything. So, no matter how big or small your issue might be, when the law is on your side, be sure to take the right steps and talk to those people that have the experience to help you.
Here’s how to go about filing a lawsuit in Chicago.
First off, get a good lawyer
In some instances, figuring out what you need to do can seem straightforward. But depending on the specifics of law, the better part of the job may actually be very complicated than you probably think. That is why you need to work with a good lawyer. Some doctrines that govern the filing of a suit in Chicago require professional interpretation and it is only when working with an expert that you can know what to best do.
The Steps Involved in Filing a Suit in Chicago
1. Drafting the complaint
Before you begin to write a complaint, organize your thoughts. Make an outline of claims to be included in the complaint and ensure that you arrange them logically. Please note that the complaint is what sets the tone for the rest of the legal process and as such you need to capture all the essential details in a very specific manner. This should be done while keeping in mind that the defendant will respond to each allegation as stated on each paragraph. Our advice:- keep your statements short and simple to reduce the possibility of error and ambiguity. Once you are done writing the complaint, the next step is to file it with the court.
What fees are charged for filing a complaint?
Well, the current fees for filing a suit change depending on the extent of the claim. What is important is that you keep all your receipts safely for costing and follow-up purposes.
2. Serving the defendant
You must serve the defendant as required by Chicago law and have legal proof that the complaint was delivered to them. Some common ways of serving a defendant include:
- By Sheriff – Have the sheriff in the defendant’s residence serve them for you.
- By Certified Mail – Mail the summons to their mailing address.
- By Acceptance of service – Where the defendant signs a sworn affidavit before an attorney acknowledging the receipt of the complaint.
- By publication – This is the last resort while all other efforts have failed and involves paying for a newspaper notice. Additional court forms will be necessary.
The law of Chicago requires the defendant to be served personally, as a matter of basic fairness.
3. Await the defendant’s response
Now that you’ve served the defendant with the complaint, the next thing is to allow him time to respond. By law, the defendant has a certain amount of time to lodge a formal response to your claims. They will either accept or deny the specific allegations that you raised against them on the complaint letter. It is not uncommon for defendants to admit the allegations that are minor but deny those that bear serious legal implications. In case they fail to respond within the recommended timeline, then the court rules in your favor.
Well, this is just but a basic outline of the activities that take place between filing a lawsuit in Chicago and the first court hearing. Note that all cases are not treated the same especially as far as timelines and presentation of evidence are concerned. The final verdict may take days, months or even years and so you need to be very patient.
Thoughts on filing a lawsuit
To sum it up, filing a lawsuit in Chicago is a serious decision that should be treated just as that – seriously. You want to ensure that you have your goals clear and that you are sure about your stand. Also important, you want to weigh both the best and worst case scenarios of carrying on with the decision to proceed to court. Make sure to think through it step-by-step and talk to an experienced attorney at the earliest.