Q: What is Civil Litigation?
A: Civil litigation involves a dispute between two or more parties. These parties can be individuals or businesses. Most frequently, the dispute is over money. However, there are certainly many other disputes that may arise. Some examples of civil litigation cases include breach of contract, personal injury, and landlord/tenant matters. (Back to Top)
Q: What are the titles of each party in the lawsuit?
A: The person who commences the lawsuit is called the "Plaintiff," while the person being sued is known as the "Defendant." There can be more than one plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit.
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Q: How does a lawsuit begin?
A: A lawsuit is usually started by the Plaintiff filing a "Complaint" in court. That Complaint is then served on the Defendant, who has the opportunity to serve an "Answer." (Back to Top)
Q: What is Small Claims Court?
Small Claims Court has jurisdiction over civil suits in cases up to $3,000.00 or $5,000.00 depending on location. In most town courts, the small claims limit is $3,000.00. In most city courts, the small claims limit is $5,000.00. These courts are set up so that the parties do not need to hire a lawyer. However, it is certainly acceptable (and recommended) to hire a lawyer for these type of disputes. (Back to Top)
Q: Do I need an attorney?
Many disputes are settled before a lawsuit is ever filed. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to reach a settlement prior to hiring an attorney. However, if you have exhausted all efforts to resolve your dispute on your own, then it is likely time to hire an attorney.
For larger claims, you should always retain an attorney to represent your interests. Most often, an attorney will attempt to resolve the dispute prior to filing a lawsuit. If that is not possible, you will certainly want an attorney to represent you in court. Without hiring an attorney, you will be at a distinct disadvantage. The Rules of Civil Procedure governing court matters are complex; not following them may result in you losing your case. (Back to Top)
Q: What are fees for Civil Litigation cases?
Fees for civil litigation matters vary on a case by case basis. Cases may be handled on an hourly basis, contingency fee, or flat fee. Each of these options will be discussed prior to beginning work on a case. Factors involved in determining fees include the complexity of the dispute, the type of dispute, and the amount of time the case takes to be resolved (whether through settlement or court verdict). (Back to Top)