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Posted in Commercial Litigation on August 16, 2017   |  by Gary Burger

What Happens When You File a Lawsuit

Hi, I’m Gary Burger of Burger Law. We’ve spent the last week or so at the firm filing a lot of lawsuits, and my clients asked me, “Why are we filing a lawsuit? Why are we doing this? What is that?” Well, whenever you’re injured or you suffered some type of a damage, you have a claim against something, it’s something you hold, but it’s not concrete. When you file a lawsuit, you’re actually filing a claim in court to resolve this civil dispute between you and the person who injured you or caused you damage. Folks file suits for personal injuries, breach of contract, domestic issues, all kinds of stuff. We learned in the last election that our President Donald Trump has filed 3,500 lawsuits in the course of his business, so lawsuits are something that are used to resolve disputed claims of damage.

What I do typically, when I’m asked to litigate commercial disputes is typically we file personal injury cases, and in personal injury cases, the person who’s injured sues the parties whose negligence, whose rule violation, whose conduct proximately caused that injury, and there are various jury instructions, there is a lot of law on this for a lot of years. So when you file a lawsuit, you’re filing a claim in court. There is called a petition in Missouri, a complaint in Illinois, a complaint in federal court. That’s the legal document that sets forth the claims. Sometimes there’s one count, sometimes there are numerous counts to explain the different theories of relief against the defendant and you say, “What happened? What gave rise to the duty? What did the defendant did wrong and what the damages are for that?” And you file suit, you get service on the person. After that you go through a process called litigation and that is where the parties exchange information and documents. They do it through questions, through requests for documents, and then you take depositions, and ultimately you go to a trial, but just because you file suit doesn’t mean you’re trying a case. What it does is it shows the defendant you mean business and you’re continuing to progress the case to get the best result possible.

One of the goals that I try to do is put the maximum amount of recovery or the maximum compensation in my clients. I happen – and this is not a prop – I happen to have on my coffee cups the word “Compensate”: to supply an equivalent, to offset an error, to make amends. I was just drinking some water, and so you try to get the maximum compensation for your client. That’s what all lawyers do, and the defense lawyers try to minimize that.

So, that’s just a little bit about what a lawsuit is, why it’s filed. I have a bunch more videos and other information on my website, If you have any questions about this, call me at 314-542-2222. Thank you.