Maddock Law Associates

What do you need to know before taking on a civil case of your own?

A civil case is a non-criminal lawsuit.

Be familiar with the following:

Summons

An official document notifying a person that they should appear before court.

Pleadings

Both parties submit pleadings, though they differ from the plaintiff to the defendant. The plaintiff states why they brought the case, and the defendant responds to the accusations with a defense.

Pretrial Conference

A conference that occurs before the trial in front of a judge. During this conference, matters are discussed such as evidence to be shown to the jury and potential settlements.

Mediation

Happens instead of the typical trial process. Both parties attend a meeting with an un-biased mediator to settle the case through discussion.

Arbitration

Similar to mediation, arbitration is an alternative to the typical process. Rather than discussing with a third party, the two parties submit a dispute to a third party who comes to a decision independently. The parties have to abide by that decision.

Trial

Same process as trials for other offenses, a civil trial is conducted for a jury.

Preponderance of Evidence

Rather than having to provide evidence "beyond reasonable doubt," as is necessary in criminal trials, in a civil case the preponderance of evidence is a presentation of evidence that points towards the accused.

Verdict

After a trial is complete, the jury must reach a decision, or a verdict, determining whether or not the defendant is guilty as charged.

Appeal

If you are unhappy with a courts decision, it is possible to make an appeal. This involves asking a higher court to review, and possibly reverse, the decision of the lower court.
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