Charging a person in a Civil Case

By Stephanie Dingle

What is a Civil Case?

A Civil Case is a noncriminal lawsuit that is usually over property disputes, breach of contract, family matters such as divorce and child custody, personal injury and negligence.

Court proceedings in a Civil Case

1. Plaintiff decides to sue the defendant

2. Plaintiff hires an attorney, attorney files a formal complaint that states the parties and describes the lawsuit

3. Court summons the defendant ordering him/her to a certain date.

- Defendant sends a response admitting guilt or giving reasons why they are not, this is called pleadings.

4. Pretrial Conference is called by the judge, this is where most civil cases stop at because the suit is weak or they go through mediation or arbitration.

5. Case goes to trial

Court proceedings continued

6. Case is heard by a judge or a jury of 6 to 12 people,plaintiff presents side first. Then the defendant presents his/her side. Then both sides summarize their cases. Plaintiff must prove case with a preponderance of evidence – enough to persuade the judge or jury that the def. is responsible for the damages.

7. Judge or Jury decides verdict

8. If defendant wins, plaintiff can appeal