Whenever two or more parties have a legal dispute, they can pursue civil litigation. There are no criminal charges in these cases. The parties simply have legal concerns that need resolution.
There are steps in the process. Understanding them can help you decide how to proceed.
Pretrial – determining if you have a case
The details and the evidence will determine if you have a case. If you decide to proceed with a civil litigation case, the plaintiff must file documents detailing their case. The plaintiff also must have a legal reason for the action and a proposed resolution.
Those details are served to the defendant. They can either answer the allegations or seek clarifications on the issues.
Discovery – obtaining the facts of the case
This phase allows both sides to present evidence to the court. This prevents parties from keeping evidence from the opposing party. The parties can petition the court to amend, clarify or dismiss the charges based on legal standards.
Trail – a judge or jury will decide the case
Both sides present their case. The sides can challenge the opposition’s case and their evidence. The entire process can take a long time to complete. It can be expensive and time-consuming.
Often, there are appeals, which add to the time and cost.
A pretrial settlement might be an option
Determining the details will help you decide if you have a case. It can also help you decide if alternative dispute resolution is a better option than court.
It can be a shorter process and save money. It can also be less contentious. A settlement can include money or an agreement on a resolution.
Civil litigation can be complicated. Knowing what to expect can help you make informed decisions.