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The Complete Idiot's Guide® To Lawsuits

Book Description

Have you been confused by a lawsuit? We can help.

Millions of civil lawsuits are filed in the U.S. court system, costing billions of dollars in legal fees to those involved. The process is so complex that few people can pursue civil action without professional help, leaving them totally at a lawyer's mercy. Yet how many people truly know what they're getting into when they're involved in a lawsuit? The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Lawsuits clarifies the entire process in layman's terms. Expert litigator and law professor Victoria E. Green offers valuable insight into:

*The pros and cons of filing lawsuits

*How they begin and each party's response

*Selecting and paying attorneys

*Consequences of the settlement and appeals

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Dedication
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Introduction
  5. Part 1 - Should You Sue?
    1. Chapter 1 - How Lawsuits Start
      1. You Can Sue for Anything—But Can You Win?
      2. What Makes Up a Case
      3. How Long Will This Take?
      4. What Do You Really Want to Achieve?
      5. You’ve Been Sued—Now What?
      6. Frivolous Lawsuits
    2. Chapter 2 - Kinds of Lawsuits
      1. Civil Suits vs. Criminal Suits
      2. Tort Law: Personal Injury and Property Damage
      3. Medical Malpractice
      4. Product Liability
      5. Contracts
      6. Will Contests
      7. Family Law
      8. Class Action
      9. Shareholder Suits and Derivative Actions
    3. Chapter 3 - Damages and How You Get Them
      1. No Harm = No Damages = No Case
      2. Types of Damages
      3. Your Duty to Minimize Your Damages
      4. Documenting Damages
  6. Part 2 - Legal Representation
    1. Chapter 4 - Do You Really Need a Lawyer?
      1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Going Without
      2. Finding a Lawyer
      3. When Is a Lawyer Supplied?
      4. Interviewing Prospective Lawyers
    2. Chapter 5 - How Much Does Justice Cost?
      1. How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
      2. Making the Most of Your Money
      3. Get It in Writing
      4. Free Legal Services
      5. Court Costs
      6. Your Nonmonetary Costs
    3. Chapter 6 - The Cast of Characters in a Lawsuit
      1. The Parties
      2. Counsel
      3. The Court
      4. Jury
  7. Part 3 - The Legal Environment
    1. Chapter 7 - Background Basics
      1. The Court System
      2. How a Case Moves Through the System
    2. Chapter 8 - Court Rules and Civil Procedure
      1. Time Is Always Critical
      2. There’s a Rule for Everything
      3. Federal and State Rules Are Different
      4. Rules to Be Aware Of
    3. Chapter 9 - Small Claims Court
      1. What Makes Small Claims Courts Different?
      2. When Should I Use Small Claims Court?
      3. The Kinds of Cases Heard in Small Claims Courts
      4. The Kinds of Cases Not Heard in Small Claims Courts
      5. Costs Associated with Small Claims Court
      6. Why Can’t I Have a Lawyer?
      7. Why Can’t I Have a Jury?
      8. Enforcing a Small Claims Judgment
      9. Removing a Case from Small Claims Court
  8. Part 4 - The Trial Process
    1. Chapter 10 - Pretrial
      1. Should You Settle?
      2. Negotiating Settlements
      3. Court Proceedings
      4. Discovery
      5. Electronic Discovery: Give Me Your Hard Drive!
      6. Court-Ordered Mandatory Mediation
      7. What Is a Motion?
      8. Motions Before Trial
    2. Chapter 11 - Proving Your Case: Evidence
      1. If They Don’t Ask, Why Tell?
      2. Types of Evidence
      3. Preserving Evidence Before the Case Begins
      4. How to Get Facts Considered by the Court
      5. Problems with Evidence
      6. Preserving an Issue for Appeal
    3. Chapter 12 - The Trial Itself
      1. What You See on TV Isn’t Always What You Get
      2. How to Behave in Court
      3. Who Sits Where
      4. Timing
      5. Opening Statements
      6. Plaintiff’s Case
      7. Motions During Trial
      8. Defendant’s Case
      9. Witnesses: Expert and “Lay”
      10. Closing Statements
    4. Chapter 13 - Coming to a Decision
      1. How Are the Facts Decided?
      2. How Is the Law Decided?
      3. How Is the Law Applied?
      4. Making the Final Decision
      5. The Announcement of the Decision
    5. Chapter 14 - After the Trial
      1. What Does a Verdict Mean?
      2. Motions After Trial
      3. More Paperwork
      4. Is the Win Taxable?
      5. Is the Loss Deductible?
      6. Paying Legal Fees
      7. Collecting on a Money Judgment
      8. Garnishment
      9. Liens
    6. Chapter 15 - Appeals
      1. Deciding Whether to Appeal
      2. The Facts Have Been Decided
      3. Appealing How the Law Was Applied
      4. Costs of Filing an Appeal
      5. Do You Need a Different Lawyer?
      6. Will the Court of Appeals Hear My Case?
      7. Taking It to the Supreme Court
    7. Chapter 16 - After the Dust Clears
      1. Legal Consequences of a Lawsuit
      2. What Has This Lawsuit Done to Your Relationships?
      3. Your Lawsuit’s Effect on Your Personal Finances
      4. Monday Morning Quarterbacking
      5. Limiting Collateral Damage After a Lawsuit
    8. Chapter 17 - Legal Malpractice
      1. What Is Malpractice?
      2. “Grieving” Your Lawyer
      3. Why Suing an Attorney Is Complicated
      4. Benefits and Costs
      5. Withholding Fees
      6. Effect of Malpractice Suit on Appeal
  9. Part 5 - Alternatives to Filing Suit
    1. Chapter 18 - Negotiation
      1. What Is Negotiation?
      2. How Can I Get Help Negotiating?
      3. Negotiating Techniques
      4. Dealing With Unreasonable People
      5. Negotiation as Part of the Lawsuit
      6. How Do I Know When to Settle?
    2. Chapter 19 - Mediation
      1. What Is Mediation?
      2. Do I Need a Lawyer for This?
      3. What Are the Pros and Cons of Mediation?
      4. Mediation Services
      5. Can I Still Sue If This Doesn’t Work Out?
    3. Chapter 20 - Arbitration
      1. What Is Arbitration?
      2. Costs
      3. Do I Need a Lawyer for This?
      4. When Would I Go to Arbitration?
      5. Why Would I Go to Arbitration If I Had a Choice?
      6. How Should I Pick an Arbitrator?
      7. What Do I Get at the End of Arbitration?
      8. Can I Still Sue If This Doesn’t Work Out?
  10. Appendix A - Glossary
  11. Appendix B - Resources
    1. Attorney Information Resources
    2. Small Claims Court Resources
  12. Index