The Ethical Law Firm

By Lance Metcalf

Terms to Know

· Plaintiff

· Complaint

· Defendant

· Summons

· Trial

· Pretrial

· Arbitrator

· Preponderance of Evidence

· Pleading

· Mediation

· Verdict

· Appeal

What is a Civil Case

A civil case is a dispute between two or more parties. In order for a civil case to start the plaintiff must file a complaint to the court, the plaintiff then serves a copy to the defendant. The complaint is what describes the plaintiff’s injuries; it also explains how the defendant was the cause of the injuries. The court then issues the defendant with a summons that tells them that they are being sued.

The court will arrange for a trial, the case can be heard without a jury if both sides waive their right to one. If both sides choose not to have a jury then the case will be heard by a judge who will determine the outcome.

Before the real trial is held sometimes the judge will order a pretrial conference to help the quality of the case. Sometimes an arbitrator is used to end a dispute. In order for the plaintiff to win the civil case they must provide preponderance of evidence. The defendant must present a pleading that exposes the facts in the case. In some cases a dispute is settled thru mediation where someone helps the defendant and the plaintiff come to a settlement. After the case has went through a trial the jury will come to a verdict in favor of the defendant or the plaintiff. In order to submit an appeal you must file a notice of appeal.