If you are the person who is initiating the lawsuit, you will be referred to as the plaintiff. This typically means you have suffered a financial loss or endured an injury due to the actions of the defendant. If you are filing a lawsuit, it is important for you to know the different stages throughout the process of civil litigation. Knowing what these are may assist you to have a better understanding of what you will be required to do.
Stage #1: File the complaint
The first thing you should do is meet with an attorney and provide the details that are necessary for the lawsuit to be issued. You should be prepared to list the charges and allegations that you are making against the defendant.
Additionally, you should state the amount of compensation you are seeking in the complaint against the defendant.
Stage #2: Receive a Response
Once the complaint has been received by the defendant, there must be a response provided. This should be completed within 30 days of receiving the complaint that is usually served by certified mail or the sheriff.
The defendant must either admit or deny all of the charges that are made in the complaint.
Stage #3: Investigate the details
The strength of your case will be determined by the amount of evidence that may be provided. This is completed during the discovery stage of the lawsuit, and there are four parts of this listed below:
1. Written interrogatories – This is a list of questions that must be answered by both parties involved in the dispute.
2. Deposition – You will be required to meet with the defendant's attorney and answer a series of questions regarding the case.
3. Request for production documents – This is the time you will submit reports or statements of your financial losses in written form to strengthen your lawsuit.
4. Request for admissions – You may receive a list of statements that must be either admitted or denied. The responses you provide may shorten the length of the case if it goes to trial.
Stage 4: Mediation
The courts prefer that you settle a case outside of the court to save time and money. Both the plaintiff and the defendant must meet to work toward an agreement that will resolve the dispute. There will be a mediator present and the attorney of each party, as well.
Stage #5: Attend court
If the case if, not resolved at mediation, it will continue to court and will be tried by a jury or a judge. There will be a final verdict given, and this must be followed by both parties.
Finally, civil litigation can be a complex procedure with a number of steps before completion. Be sure to consult with a personal injury attorney who can guide you through this process and work towards a satisfying end for you.