What is Civil Litigation?

The term litigation refers to any lawsuit that is brought before a court in order to recover a right, obtain damages, obtain injunction, prevent injury or obtain a declaratory judgment to prevent future legal disputes. Civil litigation cases are any lawsuits which do not entail criminal charges.  While all falling under the umbrella term civil litigation, an large number of civil litigation charges are received by the courts daily.

Examples of civil litigation:

  • Patent litigation
  • Trade secret litigation
  • Debt settlement litigation
  • Personal injury litigation
  • Defamation action litigation
  • Discrimination litigation
  • Business litigation

Civil Litigation Deals With Private Lawsuits

Generally, the purpose of civil lawsuits are to dispute resolution of private law issues regarding business entities, individuals or non-profit organizations.

Procedure in civil litigation cases

As civil law suit procedures are constrained by separate statutory laws, case laws and constitutional provisions, the details of the lawsuit differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Often, the courts within the jurisdiction also have additional differences and separate rules and regulations apply. It is important that each person involved in the lawsuit fully understands the underlying procedures and time implications, as this might have serious consequences on limiting the trial or even possible termination of the lawsuit.

Settlements in Civil Lawsuits

The majority of civil litigation lawsuits are settled either outside of the court or never proceed to the actual trial. However, complications can arise when other states get involved, applying different state laws. Additionally, the more parties are involved, the more complex the litigation can become. There is the chance of bringing in cross-claims and counter-claims into play and sometimes, courts need to separate out claims and parties into separate suits in order to promote efficiency and avoid overlapping factual issues.

Process of a civil litigation lawsuit

  • Pleadings
  • Pre-trial
  • Trial and judgment
  • Appeal

Civil litigation lawsuits are a routine in the U.S courts. If you filing a lawsuit or if you are being brought into a civil litigation case, however, it is crucial to educate yourself about the court proceedings and the applying state laws, as every case is very time sensitive and deadlines are strictly enforced.

The Importance of a Trial Lawyer in a Civil Suit

In civil litigation, many cases can be settled even before anyone files a lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances, civil litigation lawyers may work out a settlement with the opposite party. Especially for larger claims, however, it is the attorney that is able to work out a settlement before the lawsuit is started. If not, it is even more important at that point to have a lawyer by your side to represent your interests.

Unlike criminal prosecution, civil action is a lawsuit brought to court in order to receive damages or to recover a right. Civil litigation usually involves disputes of private law issues between individuals, businesses or non-profit organizations. At the same time, civil litigation can entail public law issues.

Filing a Civil Lawsuit

A civil litigation lawsuit is started as soon as the plaintiff files a written complaint. The defendant will then respond and deliver a written “answer” to the complaint in order to make any kind of plea.

After the answer is filed the parties engage in the “discovery” process. At this point the parties will learn about the pending lawsuits and all the facts involved in the case in order to prepare the trial. The discovery process includes witness questioning and answering, the exchange of documents, as well as written questions, known as "interrogations".

Possible civil litigation lawsuits include, but are not limited to:

  • Tort claim
  • Worker’s compensatio
  • Employee grievance appeals
  • Employee discrimination claims
  • General civil claims
  • Miscellaneous
This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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