Filing a lawsuit against another company, a vendor or a customer is not something you relish. You know the process can consume your time and money as well as draw valuable resources from your business. However, there are times when bringing your dispute to civil court is the only way to reach a fair resolution.
If your case involves a small amount of money or damages, you may be able to handle it yourself. However, if a considerable sum of money or the well-being or reputation of your business is at risk, you would do well to seek the representation of a skilled business litigation attorney who is familiar with the Arizona laws that apply to your situation. Your attorney will also guide you through the process of presenting your case to the court.
Steps in a lawsuit
When you decide to file a lawsuit against another party, you do not just race to the courthouse and demand justice. Civil claims are typically slow-moving, and in many cases, the parties settle along the way, especially if the case begins to cost them both more money than the damage is worth. However, before reaching that decision, you will likely follow these steps with the help of your attorney:
- Determine the most appropriate people to involve and how much you intend to seek in damages. You and your attorney can discuss a reasonable sum, whether your opponent is likely to have the ability to pay and if there may be others you can include in your complaint.
- Seek an injunction to stop the other party's actions if they continue to cause harm to your business. An example of this is when another business is infringing on your trademark.
- File the correct legal papers with the court in the appropriate jurisdiction and pay the court costs. Your attorney can be of great assistance with this step.
- Wait for the court to assign a date for your trial.
- Request that an officer of the court serve a summons to appear for the court date along with a letter of demand to everyone involved in the lawsuit.
From this point, you and your attorney will begin gathering evidence, talking with witnesses and preparing to present a solid case. Your opponent will likely do the same to defend his or her side in the dispute. At some point, both sides may meet to discuss a settlement offer, and it will be important to determine if the offer satisfies the damages your company suffered. If not, your case will go to court for a judge to decide.