Civil lawsuit claims are filed in civil court, and the attorneys who fight for you are civil litigation lawyers. Whether your neighbor's dog bit your leg or someone wrecked your car on the freeway, if you want to file a lawsuit to collect damages, then you need a civil litigation attorney.
Finding a Civil Litigation Lawyer
The best way to find an attorney is to ask your friends and family for referrals. Take the time to meet with at least a couple of litigators before selecting one. Since the civil litigation process can take anywhere from a few weeks to many years to complete, you want the lawyer you select to be someone you can work with for the long haul.
Understanding the Civil Litigation Process
When initially meeting with a civil litigation attorney to speak about your case, it's essential to understand how the civil litigation process works. Some people get the impression from television shows that your lawyer files a lawsuit, the other person is served, and then you settle or go to court immediately.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many steps to the process, and there are often delays either from court calendar conflicts or the person you are suing asking for delay after delay.
Steps of the Civil Litigation Process
Suppose for a moment that you hired a contractor to redo your bathroom signed a contract, and then paid them, and they never returned to do the work. You would file a claim in civil court for this type of lawsuit.
The steps of the process from start to finish would look something like this
Step 1: You are civil litigation lawyer who files a complaint, known as a pleading, with the local civil court. The pleading describes:
- the reason for the lawsuit
- why you are suing the defendant
- explains what laws have jurisdiction over your loss
- asks the court to award you compensation
Step 2: Your lawyer's office will have a process server serve legal papers about the lawsuit to the defendant. This lets them know they are being sued and all further communication about the matter is to go through your attorney.
Step 3: The defendant hires a lawyer.
Step 4: The two lawyers individually gather information on their cases through discovery and share with each other those things they are required to by law.
Step 5: Once both lawyers have discovered all of the information there is to know about the case, there may be a settlement trial or a settlement meeting to see if both sides can understand without having to go to trial.
Step 6: If the case cannot be settled before its trial date, the case will go to trial in front of a jury, a verdict will be rendered, and the judge will decide on damages based on applicable laws.
Finally, it is also important to note that after your case has gone to trial, the losing party can file an appeal if they disagree with the jury's verdict. For more information, contact a civil litigation attorney near you.