Frequently asked questions on **Civil Litigation / Lawsuits**

Civil Litigation/What are my rights?

Everyone has a right to file a lawsuit at the local county courthouse.  That
also means everyone can be sued, whether the claim is a strong one, a weak
one or an absurd one.  Fortunately, court rules and procedures exist that
usually result in strong claims prevailing or settling, weak claims prevailing for
less than asking for or settling and absurd claims being dismissed altogether.

The main reason to sue is because someone owes you money and
repeatedly refuses to pay over a reasonable period of time.  Typically,
someone owes you or your business for goods and services provided,
earned wages/commisions, a loan, an injury or property damage.

As of January 1, 2006, Illinois raised the small claims limit to $10,000. Small
claims court is good for people to represent themselves ("Pro Se") You can
still be represented by an attorney, but it is not paying..

Obtaining  a judgement against your opponent, the Defendant, does not get
you your money. There are separate collection procedures that need to be
pursued to attempt to collect the money from the Defendant.  Examples are
wage garnishment and non-wage garnishment ( e.g.  seizing  money from
bank account).  If the Defendant is broke and unemployed, there won't be
anything to garnish.  Consequently, such a Defendant may not be worth
suing to begin with.

Civil Litigation/How can a lawyer help me?

If you need to sue someone or are being sued and don't know quite how to
deal with it, the best thing you can do is call a lawyer or two for a free
consultation.  I am definitely available to speak to you.  If you would like to
reach me, please "click" on                  . After talking with you for a few
minutes over the telephone, I will have a basic idea of whether your dispute
is worth filing a lawsuit or whether it is worth it for you to hire an attorney to
defend you if you have been sued.  In some instances, your best option may
be to offer a settlement.  

Civil Litigation/Special topics:


Disputes do not have to be brought to court immediately.  On the other hand,
you cannot wait forever to sue someone if they owe you money and vice
versa.  Statutes of limitations in Illinois limit the period of time in which
different types of cases or "causes of action" can be brought.  Lawsuits for
breach of a written contract or agreement must be brought within ten years
of the breach, which is often a breach of a payment schedule.  Breaches of
verbal contracts or agreements have a five year statute of limitation.  
Personal injury and medical malpractice disputes require that the suit be filed
within two years.

To check on the status of a current or previous lawsuit in Cook County, Illnois
"Click" on
                                          
Civil litigation
Contact me
www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org