What is a civil lawsuit? A civil lawsuit is a method for a person who has been physically, emotionally or monetarily harmed by another person or company to hold that person or company accountable for their actions and get compensation for injuries and suffering.
What leads to lawsuits? Imagine you are driving home from a summer vacation and an 18-wheeler bashes into your car, causing severe damage to your car and injuries. You end up with a totaled car and numerous surgeries (medical bills). You make a claim, but the truck driver says it was your fault. You have a choice to make. You can pay all your own medicals bills and damages that were caused by someone else or you can use a civil lawsuit to hold them accountable.
What is the process and is it worth all the trouble?
1. Find a good attorney-A local attorney that has experience and a reputation of honesty, good values, hard work, and would dedicate his or her time to your case.
2. The Pleadings-Your attorney will write “the complaint,” which will consist of the facts of the case, names of everyone involved, legal theories, and a request for compensation.
3. Serving the Defendant- The complaint is delivered to the defendant, the person or company who you are claiming is liable for your injuries, and the defendant is given a summons of what he or she needs to do.
4. Defendant’s Response-The defendant has a set number of days to respond to the complaint or he or she will have to pay the full damages without negotiation known as a default judgment.
5. Discovery-After the defendant answers or issues a motion, your attorney will gather evidence, information, and important facts that will be needed to prove your case.
6. Negotiating a Settlement- Settlements end the lawsuit, instead of going to court. According to thelawdictionary.org, 95% of lawsuits end in a pre-trial settlement.
7. Trial Prep- If negotiation fails, the lawsuit is taken to court. Only five percent of personal injury cases go to court. Your case may be decided by a judge or jury depending on different factors.
8. Trial- The trial entails an opening and closing statement, questioning witnesses and the jury’s verdict. In civil cases, the burden of proof is usually on the plaintiff.
Are most lawsuits successful? Ninety percent of cases that go to trial end in victory for the plaintiff. Although trials and lawsuits cannot fix pain and suffering, compensation can help fix financial struggles, and help make up for physical and mental pain.