Leah Gillikin's Law Firm

What are plaintiff, defendant, complaint, summons, pleadings, pretrial conference, mediation, arbitration, and trials.

The plaintiff is the person (or party) that brings the law suit against the other person. If you are injured in a car accident, and think you have a personal injury or accident, and want to sue the person that hit you, you would be the plaintiff if you bring suit before the other person does. The plaintiff files the first complaint with the court. Personal injury attorneys or also known as an accident lawyers can help you accomplish. The complaint contains allegations (statements) which the plaintiff must prove in order to obtain a recovery from the defendant. The defendant is the person the plaintiff is suing. Think about it this way: the defendant is the person that has to defend their actions to the court. The defendant is responsible for the answer (response) to the plaintiff's complaint. The complaint is the document written by the plaintiff’s attorney that, when filed and served upon the defendant(s), commences a lawsuit.A summons is a written notice, which usually is accompanied by the complaint, notifying the defendant and the court that the complaint has been served on all relevant parties and listing the date of the first court appearance for the lawsuit. Pleading is a formal written statement of a party's claims or defenses to another party's claims in a civil action.. The parties' pleadings in a case define the issues to be adjudicated in the action. A pretrial conference is a meeting of the parties to a case conducted prior to trial. The conference is held before the trial judge or amagistrate, a judicial officer who possesses fewer judicial powers than a judge. A pretrial conference may be held prior to trial in both civil and criminal cases. A pretrial conference may be requested by a party to a case, or it may be ordered by the court. Generally, the termpretrial conference is used interchangeably with the term pretrial hearing. Arbitration and mediation represent two methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that may assist parties in resolving their disputes. These two dispute resolution methods are alternatives to litigation, or the process of resolving a claim in court, hence the termalternative dispute resolution. Because litigation can be a long, complicated, expensive process, some parties are increasingly turning to alternative dispute resolution to avoid the courts when a conflict arises. Arbitration and mediation allow parties to bring their cases to neutral third parties for resolution. Arbitration is more formal than mediation and the arbitrator's decision is usually binding on the parties, whereas mediation focuses on negotiation and the mediator seeks to facilitate an agreement between the parties. In some states, litigants must first participate in arbitration or mediation before they can proceed to trial