a person/group taking action against another person/group
What happens during a civil case?
To begin a civil case a plaintiff has to file a complaint.
- A plaintiff is the person/party filing a lawsuit
- A complaint describes the person's injury, explains how the defendant caused it, etc.
- The Defendant is the person being charged with the crime.
- The defendant then receives a summons telling him to appear in court at a certain date and time.
Each party files pleadings explaining their side of the case.
Before the trial is held a pretrial conference can occur to discuss additional information.
During the trial mediation and arbitration can be used.
- Mediation is when a 3rd party helps the plaintiff and the defendant make an agreement
- Arbitration is a situation in which the 3rd party listens to the plaintiff and the defendant, reviews the case, and makes a final decision that is binding for both parties.
- During the trial both sides present their arguments to the judge or the jury.
In most civil cases the plaintiff has to convince the jury by using a preponderance of evidence
- A preponderance of evidence says that the defendant is responsible for the harm the plaintiff has suffered.
- When both arguments are presented the court issues a final verdict or decision.
- If the losing party thinks something went wrong they can ask for an appeal so the case can be reviewed by a higher court.