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How to Prepare for Civil Litigation: The Dos and Don’ts

Going through the civil litigation process can be intimidating. There are deadlines to follow, documents to file, evidence to gather – even before you step into the courtroom.

Fortunately, having an experienced civil litigation attorney on your side can help alleviate a lot of this stress. The right attorney can guide you through the process and tell you what to do and what to avoid.

Take a look at some Dos and Don’ts you should follow.

What To Do During Civil Litigation

Know What to Expect: It’s essential to know what to expect during the process. This can include what you need to know leading up to settlement or trial, what to expect in the courtroom, and what happens after the case is over. The right attorney can help outline the process for you, explain the applicable law, let you know the potential weaknesses in your case, and set reasonable expectations.

Properly Prepare: A successful civil litigation case requires a lot of preparation. This includes giving your attorney all of the important details surrounding your case, gathering all documentation, submitting any evidence you have, and providing any other details your attorney needs to know. You will likely participate in discovery with the other party. Discovery includes taking depositions, exchanging documents, and interviewing or deposing witnesses. Depending on the type of case you have, you may need to hire one or more expert witnesses.

Know What to Bring: When you meet with your attorney, it’s essential to bring the right information. This depends on what kind of a case it is. Depending on your case, you may need to provide financial records, contracts, agreements, and other evidence that helps prove your case.

Hire an Experienced Attorney: Above all else, it’s essential to hire an experienced and reputable civil litigation attorney. You want a lawyer fighting for you who has proven he or she can win cases and who knows the process you need to follow.

What Not To Do During Civil Litigation

Miss Deadlines: When pursuing a civil litigation case, it’s essential to adhere to all deadlines – including the statute of limitations. If you miss the statute of limitations, you may be barred from presenting your case. There are also other deadlines and timelines you will need to follow during the process, including discovery cut-offs, expert witness disclosure, and filing deadlines. Missing these can result in your case being dismissed, or you may be prevented from presenting evidence or testimony at trial. Your attorney can help you stay on schedule.

Submit Insufficient Evidence: Your lawyer can only build a case on the evidence you submit to him or her. Help your civil litigation attorney by giving him or her all of the information- you have related to your case. Forgetting a piece of evidence can hurt you, and it can put your attorney at a disadvantage in court if he or she doesn’t have it. It could even reflect on your credibility as a witness. When in doubt – give anything you think might be remotely related to your case to your attorney. He or she will decide what they need and how to use it. Give your attorney even the information you think might be negative to your case—your attorney will figure out how to deal with it. Under no circumstances should you hide information from your attorney!

File a Claim Against the Wrong Person: While in most cases the defendant is obvious (whether it’s your ex-spouse, a business partner, or someone else who is directly responsible), in more complicated cases you should work with your attorney to determine against whom you can build the best case. The proper defendant might include a public agency or a corporation or individuals who helped the person who harmed you.

Represent Yourself: It’s essential to have an experienced civil litigation attorney represent you and your case. Trying to represent yourself can result in you losing due to not knowing the right process to follow, or the right evidence to present. Don’t blow your case–hire an experienced professional.

Attorneys Noreen Evans and Deirdre Kingsbury understand the legal intricacies involved in trial litigation, post-trial actions, and appeals. If you have received an adverse court ruling, they can answer your post-trial questions and explain your options. At Evans Kingsbury LLP, we are civil litigation and appellate lawyers with decades of trial experience. Call us today at (707) 596-6090 or fill out our easy contact form to discuss your situation.

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