The Doctor's Law Firm

Maria Goebeler

Civil Court Cases

When one sues another for damages, it is known as a civil case. There is no crime or disagreement involved. Some examples are property damages, divorce, negligence and personal injuries.


There are different types of lawsuits. One is suits in equity, this is where someone seeks fair treatment in a situation where there is no law to make the decision for them.

Plaintiffs and Defendants

The plaintiff is the one that is suing and the defendant is the one being sued.

Steps in a Civil Case

The first step is to hire a lawyer that will file a complaint, the definition of a complaint is a formal statement naming the defendant and describing the lawsuit. The second step is the court sends a summons which is a request for your appearance in court. This is a response to a complaint. After they meet in court the defendant may answer the questions with their attorney. In defense proceedings, they use pleadings which are where the question and answer are together. Next the judge may have the two parties meet in a room together to clarify different things. If the parties do not settle the dispute then the trial will go to court. After the judge hears both sides of the case they come up with a verdict. You have the right to appeal the decision if you thing the outcome was incorrect.

Pretrial Conference

Before going to court you will want to gather your materials for the pretrial conference. Although you may not need it, it is good to have. In the pretrial conference the judge or jury will decide the number of witnesses and certain evidence will be presented.

Other Options of Resolution

Sometimes the last couple steps are not needed if the parties use mediation and settle the dispute without going to court. They can also choose arbitration which is where the parties opt for a private resolution instead of going to court. If one parties evidence is much more convincing than the others then the jury will come to a verdict immediately. This is called preponderance of evidence.