Civil Cases

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.


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.

Trial cont.

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.