Johnson Law Firm
By: Tess Johnson; July 8th, 2014
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What is a Civil Court Case?
What are Some Examples of Civil Court Cases?
- Property damage: if someone broke into your car or house and caused damage.
- Contractor issues: if you hired a contractor and he or she did not fulfill their duty.
- Divorce: if you have gone through a divorce and you are questioning who will get things like the house.
- Negligence: if an accident was caused due to the carelessness of another person or party.
- Personal injury
If you have experienced any of these, our services may be of use to you!
What are the Steps of a Civil Court Case?
1. File a complaint: The first stem in a civil case is to hire a lawyer and file a complaint. A complaint is a formal statement that names the defendant and describes the lawsuit. (In a civil court case there are specific terms for the people involved. If you are the person filing the lawsuit than you are called the plaintiff, and the person that is being charged with the crime is known as the defendant.
2. The court summons is sent: After you have filed your complaint, the court will send out a summons. A summons is a notice that directs someone to appear in court to answer a complaint.
3. Defense pleadings will take place: The defendant may respond to the charges by having their attorney "answer" the complaint. Defense pleadings include both the complaint and the answer, and it includes both sides gathering evidence and pleading their case.
4. Pretrial discussions take place: In pretrial discussions (or pretrial conferences), the judge will have a meeting with both sides of the disagreement and figure out their cases the differences. This is in preparation for the trial.
5. Trial phase commences: If the parties have not settled at this time, then the case goes to trial. A jury of six to twelve people OR a judge may listen to the case. In the trial, both sides will present their case, and the judge or jury will decides the case.
6. Verdict: The verdict is the final decision. In the verdict phase, some punitive damage will have to be paid, and one side will have to pay the other.
7. Optional appeal phase: After the court case, if you are not satisfied with the outcome, you are welcome to appeal. An appeal is when one party is dissatisfied with the outcome of the case and tries to get to a higher court.
Other terms you should know for your civil court case!
It is extremely important to be informed when you are going to court. Here are a few terms that you should be familiar with when your court date rolls around:
Mediation: A mediation is when a third party helps the plaintiff (you) and the defendant reach an agreement.
Arbitration: An arbitration is somewhat like a mediation in that it involves a third party. In an arbitration, a third party listens to the plaintiff (you) and the defendant, reviews the case, and then makes a final decision that is binding for both parties.
Preponderance of evidence: A preponderance of evidence is defined as "a standard of proof that must be met by a plaintiff if he or she is to win a civil action." Before you file your complaint, make sure you have the sufficient amount of evidence in order to win your case.
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