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What is Involved in Preparing for a Civil Litigation Case

civilWhat is civil litigation?  What are the different types of civil litigation cases?  How does the civil litigation process work?  These are typically questions that attorneys are asked on a regular basis.  Unless you went to law school, most Americans are not familiar with civil litigation.  Americans would not need to concern themselves with the civil litigation process unless there arose a dispute that needed to be resolved in civil court.  When this happens, Americans want to know the answers to the three questions mentioned above.  Let us review each question here.

What is civil litigation?

Civil litigation is a legal dispute between two parties that are seeking monetary compensation as a form of justice.  Civil law cases handle all cases that are non-criminal.  In criminal cases if the defendant is found guilty, the defendant will face jail time.  In civil cases, if the defendant is found guilty the defendant will pay money to the plaintiff.

What are the different types of civil litigation?

There are many different types of civil litigation cases.  Basically, anything that is not criminal law falls under civil.  This includes product liability, environment related issues, real estate, construction, personal injury including defamation, education law, worker’s compensation, and medical malpractice.

What is the civil litigation process?

The civil litigation process can be broken down into five phases.  These phases are initial investigation, pleadings and discovery to pre-trial, trial, settlement and appeal.  During the initial investigation process, attorneys determine whether the plaintiff or defendant has strong enough evidence to present a case.  This is also the phase where the attorney gathers all important documents, statements, testimony, and facts.  During the pleadings and discovery to pre-trial phase the attorneys make motions and plead on behalf of the client.  They also exchange information between parties to prepare for their case.  It is during this phase that an attorney discovers valuable information to formulate a strategy for trial.

The pre-trial phase is all about preparing the client and witnesses for trial and double checking the facts.  Then during the trial phase the litigation attorney selects the jury and argues the case in court on behalf of the client.  After cases are presented, the jury has reached a verdict and the case is settled.  However, if the jury ruled in favor of the opposing party, an attorney can make an appeal on behalf of the client in an attempt to revoke the ruling.

Lawyers typically try to settle outside the courtroom.  When civil law cases go to trial, these cases can take years to settle in trial.  Trials are also very expensive.  For these two reasons litigation attorneys try to settle most cases through mediation.