Even if you win a lawsuit, you still have to collect your judgment. And the court won't collect it for you -- when it comes to collecting what you're owed, you're on your own. That's why you should always consider whether you'll be able to collect a judgment before you file a lawsuit. If your opponent doesn't have any assets (and isn't likely to get any in the future), it may not make sense to take him or her to court.
If you have won a court judgment against someone with a decent job, you may be able to intercept up to 25% of his or her wages to satisfy your judgment. This process, permitted in nearly every state, is called a wage garnishment. Find out how, when, and whether you should garnish wages.
An individual came into my office and delivered an envelope with my name on it. I was not in at the time and my office assistant took it. Inside was a notice that my company was being sued for nonpayment on an insurance claim. My name was not on the form nor was I personally served. Also, the address was incorrect on the form. Will I still need to show up to defend myself?
I was recently called to jury duty in a criminal case. When the lawyers were choosing jurors, I noticed that they first tried to dismiss me "for cause," which the judge didn't allow; so then they dismissed me with a "peremptory challenge." Was this fair?
The best way for a nonlawyer to survive the courtroom is to avoid it altogether -- by settling your dispute or arranging to have it diverted to mediation. If these strategies fail, however, you'll have to either hire a lawyer or take the time to bring yourself up to speed on legal procedures. Fortunately, it isn't too difficult to learn the basics about bringing or defending a case in court -- but you'll need the right resources.
Ten years ago, trying to find a lawyer who would help you find your own way through the legal system was next to impossible. This is because, traditionally, attorneys have either taken on overall responsibility for a client's case or declined to get involved. But nothing in between. Even today, many
Once you file a lawsuit, you'll have to make a number of decisions -- and meet a number of deadlines -- before your case actually goes to trial. One of the most important pretrial procedures is "discovery" -- the formal process by which you gather information, documents, and other evidence relevant to your case. Discovery takes two forms: "informal investigation" and "formal discovery," which includes written questionnaires and interviews under oath.