Considering Civil Litigation? Here's How It Works

If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit, you may be wondering whether or not you need to retain an attorney. While you can file a civil lawsuit on your own, it's beneficial if you have an attorney on your side that is familiar with how civil litigation works, as it can be a somewhat difficult and lengthy process. This article will give you an overview on the civil litigation process, so that you have a better understanding of what you're about to go through. 

Civil Lawsuits 

Civil lawsuits are brought on because of a dispute that arises between businesses or people. They go through a step-by-step process. The parties involved in the lawsuit can stop the process at any time by settling before trial. In a civil litigation, the burden of proof is more equally divided between the plaintiff and the defendant. That's different from a criminal case, where the burden of proof falls on that of the prosecutor. 

Litigation Process

In a civil ligation suit, the plaintiff will initially file the papers that allege the claim against the defendant. The defendant must answer to those claims within a certain amount of time, or they could be found in default. After the answer has been filed, a slow and sometimes lengthy process ensues. Discovery is demanded, which is essentially the exchange of each party's files and proof. After discovery is complete, the case moves into the court room. A judge has the opportunity to review the case, and can even dismiss the claim outright if the judge feels there is not sufficient proof to move forward with the claim.

Unlike a criminal case, where a defendant cannot be charged for the same crime twice, if a judge decides to throw out a civil case, the claim can be brought against the defendant at a later date if new evidence arises. However, most cases that are dismissed in civil litigation are dismissed before discovery is even made, as the defendant will usually file Motion to Dismiss with the court. 

Parties involved in a civil lawsuit may also consider arbitration. The process is somewhat similar, but instead of having the case heard before a judge, the parties appear before an arbitrator. Many times, parties agree to arbitration also agree that the decision that the arbitrator makes is final, and there is no option for appealing the decision. Attorneys can be used in arbitration, and many times this process is not as costly.

If you're considering a civil lawsuit, or you've been sued, you should consult with a civil litigation attorney to determine the next steps to take. Go to websites for more information.