Civil litigation is a powerful tool, giving you the opportunity to seek justice if you've been hurt in an accident, someone's damaged your property, or a business failed to live up to a contract. When negotiations break down, filing a lawsuit may be your only option. While the legal system may seem complex, every civil case essentially consists of five primary phases.
The litigation process formally begins when the plaintiff files a complaint against the defendant. In this document, the plaintiff describes the facts of the case, along with the relevant law that supports their position.
After receiving the summons and complaint, the defendant must file an answer with the court. In the response, they can either admit to wrongdoing, claim they have no knowledge, partially acknowledge responsibility, or deny responsibility. If the defendant agrees with the plaintiff's case, a judgment is awarded and the case is over.
Most defendants’ attorneys will attempt to file a Motion to Dismiss that, if approved, means the case is automatically thrown out. Other motions can involve disputing certain pieces of evidence, including the testimony of specific witnesses.
During the discovery phase, each side's attorneys will take depositions, request documents, and perform their own investigation. Attorneys for each side will also usually try to avert a trial by continuing settlement negotiations, informed by the evidence they uncover.
The vast majority of civil cases end in a settlement. However, if a mutually agreeable solution isn't possible, the parties will have to leave the dispute in the hands of a judge or jury. Because civil litigation can be lengthy and expensive, the parties involve usually try to avoid this outcome if at all possible.
For over a decade, the legal team at Levy, Stieh, Gaughan & Baron PC have represented clients throughout the Milford, PA, area in a broad array of civil litigation matters, from contractual disputes to injury cases. To schedule your consultation today, visit their website or call (570) 296-8844 today.