What Happens in a General Litigation Process?

Wooden judges gavel and laptop computer on black leather deskLitigation is the term used to describe the process of legal proceedings to settle a dispute between two parties.  In the state of Florida, most general litigation cases are able to settle outside of court.  However, in the event both parties cannot agree the case will then be determined in court.  If you need a legal settlement, your general litigation attorney can help you navigate the process.  But it never hurts to know what to expect.  Here is a general run down of the general litigation process in Melbourne.

Filing the Claim

All litigation begins with the Plaintiff filing a complaint in the form of a legal document.  This document will then be served to the defendant who will need to answer the claim or file a motion to dismiss it.  It is very important to have an attorney help fill out these initial legal forms from the very beginning.  It is often the case that plaintiffs will not state their claim in effective ways causing them to amend the claim after it is denied.  After so many tries, the court will no longer acknowledge the plaintiff.  An attorney will allow you to save time and money by getting it right the first time.

Once the claim is filed and the defendant has answered the claim, they may ask for a jury trial.  However, more often than not, litigation is successful.   But if not, the beginning stages are essentially preparing the case for trial.  It is quite the extensive process.

The Discovery Phase

Once the claim is acknowledged by the Florida court system as “at issue”, the information exchange is underway.  This is where both sides begin to formally prepare their side of the case.  They can request information from each other as supporting evidence.  Other people such as witnesses, family members or landlords may be asked to present relevant documents or accounts known as depositions.  Depositions are testimonies under oath that may be used later in court.  They are often presentations of facts or answers from the attorney’s questions in written or oral form.

Settlement

After both parties have been able to complete the discovery phase, it is time to reach an agreement.  A summary judgment may be given in the event that the evidence is overwhelmingly determinate.  Mediation is also a court requirement and often before a summary judgment can be awarded, both parties will sit down with an independent mediator.  It is helpful to reach a settlement while in mediation.  If there are remaining issues that cannot be resolved, the case must go to trial.

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