There are many different types of legal proceedings, and civil is one of them. Unlike criminal cases, civil lawsuits are complaints between people or businesses. If you have a complaint against an individual or company, the issue is decided during civil legal proceedings.
For instance, you may have been hurt in an accident and wish to sue the driver. Perhaps you suffered an injury in the factory where you work and want to take the owner to court. Many of these cases also involve discrimination relating to age, sex, race, or color.
If you’ve tried an out-of-court process and it hasn’t worked, a court can intervene. Should you decide to go the court way, it might help to be aware of several issues about such cases and court processes. Luckily, you’re looking at the right page for inspiration. This piece shall cover six crucial things you should know about legal proceedings in civil suits.
1. You Need To Seek Advice
Before going to court, you will want to equip yourself with a reputable attorney. When facing a civil legal dispute, dispute resolution & litigation lawyers will tell you whether you stand a winning chance or not. Additionally, they will prepare you for the case and help you decide whether to file it before a federal or state judge. Ensure your discussions with the lawyers are confidential.
2. Filing A Complaint
There are various situations where you may want to file a complaint where you believe your civil rights have been violated. For instance, the complaint could be against:
- Your employer
- A neighbor or colleague
- Housing agency or landlord
- Law enforcement
- And many other scenarios
In the US, the complaint is normally filed in writing with the office of civil rights OCR. Now that you’re sure about heading to court, your lawyer will help you file a complaint. The complaint details your issues with the defendant and why you will sue them.
The defendant is also allowed to file a response to your complaint. They may also decide to submit counter-claims against you. This process helps the court define the issues it needs to decide on.
3. Strengthening Your Case
With the matter now officially in court, you need to gather information to strengthen your case. In this process, usually referred to as discovery, your lawyer prepares for the case by collecting facts, getting documents, and questioning witnesses. To win a civil suit, you also need to call in an expert witness to win a civil suit, which breaks down technical terms and justifies your argument. Sometimes you might resolve the issue before the case starts.
4. Presenting The Case
Once the trial starts, your lawyer and the defendant’s attorney file a brief. The brief details the evidence and the arguments they’ll present before a judge or jury. The lawyers will call the witnesses to the stand to make their statements.
Lawyers from either side are allowed to cross-examine the witnesses. It is in your best interest to ensure you have convincing arguments to make a judge rule in your favor. This is all the more reason to have a decorated civil rights attorney by your side throughout the process.
5. Waiting On The Verdict
If your case is heard before a jury, you have to wait for its decision. The jury leaves the court for deliberations and announces the verdict afterward. If you’re unhappy with the outcome, you can challenge the ruling. Some of the grounds for challenging the verdict include evidence or errors by the jury.
6. Making An Appeal
A court can order a new trial if you challenge the verdict successfully. During an appeal, a higher court decides whether the trial court made errors that warrant fresh proceedings. Most of the time, the appellate court doesn’t review factual evidence but legal errors.
Depending on its findings, the appellate court may call for a new trial or issue a new verdict. It is also paramount to have a dedicated lawyer representing your appeal case. This increases your chance of winning your civil suit.
If you’ve tried to resolve a civil matter unsuccessfully and decide to go to court, doing it right will save you time and money. Ensure you get an excellent attorney and bolster your case with facts and witness statements. You may call an expert witness to validate your argument. Should you lose, try appealing the verdict.