Diana & Associates

Attorneys at Law

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What is a Civil Case?

A Civil Case usually involves private disputes between persons or organizations. They are not criminal in nature and the victim may receive a form of compensation.

Who are the parties involved in a civil case?

The Plaintiff is the party who brings the lawsuit, the defendant is whom the case is brought upon.

Getting Started

First, the plaintiff will hire a lawyer to file a complaint to the proper court.

A complaint is a formal statement naming the plaintiff and defendant which describes the lawsuit.

The Court then sends a summons: a document telling the defendant of the lawsuit against them, ordering them to appear in court on a certain day and time.

During the pleadings the defendant responds, the pleadings are the complaint and answer together.

What comes next?

Next is the Pretrial conference: The judge might have both parties in a meeting to help clarify differences and prepare for trial.

Some defendant's might think they have a really strong case and just offer a settlement, but if not...

You go to trial: The plaintiff presents its side first and then the defendant in front of a jury of 6-12 people or a judge alone. Both sides summarize their cases.

At the end of the trial there is a verdict, this is the final decision where either the defendant pays or wins, in which case the plaintiff would have to pay court costs.

What if the case doesn't go as one of the parties wishes?

The party then has the choice to appeal the case to a higher court so they may review the decision of the lower court.

A couple extra things to know

Mediation is a situation in which a third party helps the plaintiff and defendant reach an agreement.

Arbitration is a situation in which a third party listens to the plaintiff and defendant, reviews the case, and makes a final decision that is binding for both parties.