Do I Need an Attorney to Bring a Lawsuit?

Do I Need an Attorney to Bring a Lawsuit?

When You Should Use an Attorney

In most circumstances, it is not a requirement to have an attorney in order to bring a lawsuit but depending on the specifics of your particular situation, it might be recommended that you use one.

There are many different factors that go into determining whether or not you should use an attorney to file a lawsuit. A private citizen or organization that wants to sue another private person or organization can usually do this in a civil court. Only the government or someone acting on behalf of a government agency that is authorized to do so may arrest and charge someone with a crime.

The following information is not legal advice nor is it intended to be construed as such. It is general information about some common things it may be important to consider when trying to decide whether or not your particular legal situation warrants the need for an attorney.

Small Claims Court

Individuals and sole proprietors are allowed to sue a person, organization, business, or entity, etc. in small claims court for up to $10,000. Corporations and other entities are limited to $5,000. There are more rules and regulations for what you can and can’t do in small claims court, including limits of how much one person is allowed to make claims for in small claims court, per year.

Each state has different laws that govern small claims courts. In a few states, such as California, Michigan and Nebraska, you are not allowed to have a lawyer represent you in court. In other states you are allowed to be represented by a lawyer in small claims courts but the limits on the amounts that can be disputed do not usually make hiring a lawyer cost efficient for a small claims lawsuit.  

Filing a Lawsuit Without an Attorney

One thing that can be difficult for many novices when it comes to trying to file (or bring) a lawsuit without an attorney is figuring out what the legal wrong is that forms the basis for a solid lawsuit. 

The rules and procedures for filing a civil lawsuit claim are very specific, and this is one of the many reasons that people recommend getting an attorney’s help. Failing to comply with all of the necessary paperwork requirements and other deadlines may jeopardize the possibility of you being able to successfully file your claim. Depending on the scope and nature of your legal problem, even though you may have to pay attorney fees, or you may have to agree to give an attorney a percentage of your award or settlement in the event you get one, hiring an attorney may wind up being more cost efficient than trying to file a lawsuit on your own. Especially because an attorney can help you to make sure that this gets done the correct way, as opposed to you trying to do it yourself and potentially doing it wrong. 

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