Lawsuit Forms | How To File A Civil Lawsuit
What Forms Do I Need To File A Civil Lawsuit?
Everyone wants to avoid a lawsuit. Unfortunately, that isn't always possible. Whether you are being sued by an unscrupulous debt collector, or a business associate has reneged on a contract, sometimes we are forced to get involved in the civil court system.
In these situations, having a competent attorney by your side is always a good idea. But what happens when you can't afford to spend $10,000-$20,000 on an attorney? With access to free legal services being woefully inadequate, many people have no choice but to represent themselves in court.
Fortunately, this is not nearly as difficult as you may think. The average person has been conditioned to think that the legal system is overly complicated and can only be navigated by experienced attorneys. However, once you think about it, you will realize that is clearly not the case and the vast majority of the law is based on simple common sense.
In 75% of all civil lawsuits in the U.S., at least one party is not represented by an attorney. That means that thousands of people represent themselves in court on a daily basis. Do not be intimidated by needlessly complex legal jargon. As you will see, the basics of filing a lawsuit are not nearly as complicated as the legal industry makes it seem. If your rights have been violated, you can (and should!) protect your rights by representing yourself in court.
Once you understand how to fill out some basic legal forms, you can competently represent yourself without an attorney. Do not be afraid to take matters into your own hands.
Civil Complaint Form
However, simply alleging that you have been harmed is not quite enough. You must allege a type of harm that your state specifically recognizes as a recoverable claim for relief (such as negligence, breach of contract, or wrongful termination). You must also make sure that your complaint is correctly formatted. Otherwise, you risk rejection by the court clerk and/or facing a motion to dismiss from the opposing party!
The precise way to format a complaint varies by state, but most complaints in the United States have the following basic format:
- Statement of jurisdiction.
- Facts Alleged.
- Claims for Relief.
- Prayer for Relief
Along with a complaint, a 'Summons' must also be filed and served on the defendant. Courts in most states, including all of those listed below (except for New York) will provide their own summons forms that are available at the courthouse. You can fill in the form with your specific information (our New York form package includes summons forms and templates).
Request For Production Form
After a complaint and answer have been filed, both parties engage in discovery, wherein they are legally obligated to provide all relevant evidence to the other party. This process begins by sending and responding to 'Requests For Production of Documents' (common referred to as an RFP). All the form packages below include state-specific forms and templates for sending and responding to RFPs. You need to make sure that your individual requests comply with your state's rules of civil procedure. Otherwise, the defendant will likely ignore your requests. Likewise, if your objections are not in compliance with state law, you may face a motion to compel from your opponent.
These are the basic forms you need to be aware of before you file a civil lawsuit. Of course, any case can get more complicated and there are many other types of legal forms not covered here. However, if you need to file a lawsuit, but cannot afford an attorney, having a good grasp of the above forms will enable you to begin your lawsuit and start gathering evidence.
In addition to the forms mentioned above, our civil lawsuit packages also include a comprehensive legal glossary and a booklet about interviewing witnesses and offering objections. Click on the links below for more information.
Our forms and guides will give you the tools you need to represent yourself in court. All our products are currently 20% for a limited time! File your lawsuit today!
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