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How the Litigation Process Works

If you are looking at this website, it is likely that another company has refused to honor the contract and pay your company what it is due. Moreover, they may have made you an offer of pennies on the dollar. The number one reason why you might be tempted to take that offer is trepidation about the litigation process.

Many of the horror stories you have heard about litigation are likely true; however, they are horror stories and not commonplace. Here at the Voss Law Firm we pride ourselves on educating our clients on the entire process. At the end of the day, we work for you, and no one knows your business better than you.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, we will send a demand letter to the potential defendant on your behalf. Typically this letter will demand full payment, indicate what kind of additional damages may be payable after a judgment, and then specify a length of time by which to respond.

This letter puts the other side on notice of your intent to enforce your contract. Sometimes, this letter is enough. Once the potential defendant is forced to confront the possibility of litigation, sometimes payment happens quickly. But, of course, this is not always the case.

If the deadline passes and payment has not been received, we consult with you. The decision to file a lawsuit is always your own. Once you have greenlighted suit, we will file the petition with the appropriate court. A few days after filing, the citations are returned to us by the court and we begin the process of service the lawsuit on the defendant.

Once the defendant is served the defendant has 30 days to respond to the suit. Reciept of the response begins the Discovery phase, where both sides seek to obtain relevant information from the other. Once we have received all the documentary information from the other side, we can then set up a deposition with the defendant.

Cases often settle following depositions. The other side will want to depose you as well. If the opposing attorney believes your testimony and feels a jury would sympathize with you, that attorney may go back and encourage the defendant to increase his settlement amount. If, however, you do not come across very trustworthy, the other side may be more willing to allow the case to go to trial.

This works both ways, of course. If the defendant does not give a good testimony, the opposing attorney will likely encourage him to increase his offer as well.

It’s important to remember that the mere filing of a lawsuit does not mean that your case is going to trial. There are off-ramps all along the litigation process and most cases settle at one of those off-ramps.

If the case does not settle after the depositions, typically the next step is Mediation. Our experience is that Mediation is most helpful when one of the clients, on either side, is being unreasonable. A mediator can often serve as a second voice of reason to a stubborn client. If an attorney is attempting to help a client understand the true strengths and weaknesses of a claim, sometimes it can be helpful to have a mediator come in and highlight those same strengths and weaknesses.

If the Defendant is being unreasonable, the mediator may be able to elicit a more favorable offer.

If Mediation is unsuccessful, it’s full steam ahead for trial. Your attorney’s job at this point is to push the case to trial as aggressively as possible. The more the defendant needs to pay in litigation expenses, and the faster those expenses accrue, and the more likely it appears to the defendant that he or she is going to lose at trial, the more willing the defendant is to come to the bargaining table with a realistic offer.

The litigation process is a marathon and not a sprint. However, there are numerous checkpoints along the way, opportunities to increase leverage and thereby increase the offer. Talk to a lawyer today to learn about your own chances for success in litigation. The Voss Law Firm offers free consultations any time and every time. Don’t accept a low offer without first learning about your rights.

If No Recovery No Fee Guarenteed

The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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