Guide for Civil Court
Hodges Law Firm
Steps in Civil Case
- After a complaint is filed, the court will summon the defendant to inform them of charges and date and time to appear
- Defendant responds to charges and pleadings of the complaint and answer can be made
- Evidence is gathered
- Pretrial Discussions may be conducted in which the judge has both parties meet to clarify and prepare (possibility that a settlement may be offered)
- Mediation can be held in arbitration in which a third party helps the defendant and plaintiff reach an agreement and also make a final binding decision
- Trial is held if case isn't settled with a jury or the judge alone
- The Plaintiff presents first with a preponderance of evidence and then the Defendant presents
- A summation of both sides is conducted
- The judge/jury decides on a verdict
- If Plaintiff wins, the Defendant pays. If the Defendant wins, the Plaintiff faces the court costs.
- If you are unhappy with the court's decision, an option is available to appeal the case to a higher court.