Civil Litigation

Various attorneys at Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler, LLP are prepared to assist you if you are involved in civil litigation as either a plaintiff or a defendant.

As a potential plaintiff, it is important to recognize that if you wish to file a lawsuit, there are issues concerning the proof of your allegations, but there are also issues about when the Statute of Limitations might run on your case.  The Statute of Limitations is a time deadline that is established by law, and it can vary from case type to case type. This means that if you do not file your case in a timely manner, you may be barred from filing the lawsuit…even if you have a winning argument.   It is important that you talk to an attorney so that you do not miss the required Statute of Limitations deadline on when your lawsuit must be filed.

Civil Law Suit Representation

As a defendant, you may need the services of an attorney if you are sued by another person or by a company. Once the lawsuit has been filed and served on you, time deadlines are set by law, and the clock starts to run on your case.  So, if you are a defendant in a lawsuit, you need to file your legal responses in a timely manner, or you could lose by a default judgment.    This is the case even if you are not at fault.    It is advisable to take immediate steps to respond in an appropriate manner if you have been sued.    If you are a defendant in a lawsuit that has been filed against you as an individual, you are legally entitled to represent yourself if you wish.  If you are sued in a small claims case or a low dollar case where you do not risk a lot, you might want to represent yourself.   If much more is at stake, it may be advisable to seek the services of an attorney so that you rights are properly protected.

Note:   If a business wants to sue or has been sued, the individual business owner or corporate officer may not be able to represent the company without the services of an attorney.  This is due to legal requirements where a non-attorney can only represent him or herself individually, and a non-attorney cannot represent a third party or a separate company.  Check with an attorney to determine your rights in this situation.

Accident, Personal Injury & Negligence

If you have been involved in an automobile accident or some other type of accident, you may be entitled to seek recovery for your damages.    Likewise, if someone else has been injured because of your negligence, you might be sued.   Many issues are involved in these types of cases, and there are many questions that must be answered…

  • Who is at fault?
  • Can the claim be proved?
  • What is the Statute of Limitations?
  • Is their Insurance coverage?
  • What are the Injuries and the Appropriate Treatment?
  • Is their Property Damage?
  • What at the amounts of Medical Expenses and Lost Wages?
  • What Damage Awards might be Possible?
  • Can the Claim be Settled or is a Lawsuit and Trial Needed?

All of these questions must be answered in a timely manner.   Consult with an attorney immediately if you are involved in an automobile accident or some other incident where property damage or personal injury occurs.   The attorney will review with you what needs to be done, and the attorney will discuss how legal fees will be handled.  Your legal fees could be based on a contingency agreement where you only pay attorney fees if you prevail in your claim.   If someone files a claim against you and you have insurance coverage, you attorney may be provided by your insurance company.

Business Litigation

Although business litigation is just that…litigation involving a business matter, it may also involve complicated connections with long time business partners, vendors, co-workers, or others connected to your business operation.  Although business litigation may involve dispute between strangers, long standing and important relationships may also be present.    So, business litigation needs to take all factors in consideration.   Dispute resolution processes like mediation or arbitration may also provide effective non-trial methods to resolve the dispute.   If you are involved in a business dispute, your attorney should work with you to determine your goals and your budget, so that appropriate decisions can be made on how to respond in the best and most economically efficient manner.

Administrative Review/Appeal Matters

When one thinks about being involved in a legal dispute, it is fairly standard to think of lawsuits and courts.   Many legal cases are handled in that manner.  However, there is an entire body of law that relies on the use of administrative processes and out-of-court hearings.   Administrative hearing processes could be involved in zoning, housing or building violations, code enforcement issues, noise or health code violations, employment disputes, various licensing or credentialing matters, social security or workers compensation claims, and many other governmental matters on the local, state or federal level.    Each of these processes can be different with different rules, deadlines and procedures.   There are also appeals of preliminary administrative decisions.  These appeals may be to other administrative bodies, or the appeal might eventually involve the court system.    Know your rights and your options if you are involved in an administrative process.