Road Map to North Carolina Civil Litigation

Road Map to North Carolina Civil Litigation

By E. Drew Nelson, Attorney Many people come to an attorney when they feel they have been wronged and want to know what legal options may be available to them. What many people do not know are the steps necessary to litigate a claim. Once you and an attorney have met to decide that you have a valid claim then several steps happen down the road that ultimately may or may not lead to a trial before a judge or jury on your case. Often times an attorney will send a letter to a person in an attempt to settle the matter prior to litigation. If that does not work to encourage a settlement, then you may decide it is in your best interest to file suit to protect your rights. Steps to Litigate a Claim First you need to decide what court you want to sue in. This is fairly simple as most cases depend on the dollar amount of damages in question. In the North Carolina court system, Small Claims or Magistrate Court can handle matters up to $10,000. District Court handles matters up to $25,000 and Superior Court handles all disputes over $25,000. The legal action does not really start until you file a complaint. A complaint is essentially a recital of facts that support your claim. In the complaint an attorney will lay out the relevant facts and specify the legal remedies that you seek. The filing fee for a complaint is currently $150 in District Court and $200 in Superior Court. Next the complaint must be served upon the Defendant. The Clerk will generate...