Deets Law Firm
Beginning a civil case
In a civil case there is a plaintiff and defendant. The plaintiff is the party who initiates the lawsuit and the defendant is the party whom the plaintiff is suing. The plaintiff issues a complaint to the court to initiate the case. following the complaint is a court summons. The court summons the defendant to appear before a judge. This is when the defendant is notified that there is a case being filed against them. The defendant can hire their lawyer at this time. Following the summons is the pleadings and the pretrial conference. The defendant pleads either innocent or guilty, and lawyers discuss issues and can propose a settlement during the pretrial discussion. A settlement is a binding agreement made by the two parties instead of a trial. During this time mediation and arbitration can occur. Mediation settles the the dispute in an alternate form. During arbitration disputes between parties are heard and settled. If no settlement can be agreed on, the trial ensues...
During the trial attorneys prepare opening statements, call witnesses forward, and highlight strong points of their case. In civil cases there can be a jury of 6-12 people or just the judge. The judge or the jury reaches their verdict, their legal decision, based upon a preponderance of evidence. This is evidence that proves their decision "Beyond reasonable doubt." If the defendant is unhappy with the outcome or feel as though they were treated unfairly they can appeal to a higher court to review the decision made by the court.