In an ideal world, all issues could be handled responsibly between the parties involved without getting the courts involved. However, this is not always possible. If you are looking into civil litigation, there are some things to consider prior to filing your case. Is it possible to handle the case without going to court? Will you need the assistance of a lawyer in your case if you do go to court? And finally, what type of case is it? Understanding the differences between criminal and civil cases in important before you decide to go to court.
The Differences Between Criminal and Civil Litigation
Civil cases typically involve two or more people or entities. The party who files the suit, or the “plaintiff”, claims that the other party, or “defendant”, did not carry out a legal duty that it owed to the plaintiff. In a criminal case, there is generally a person who is being charged with a crime. This is normally a formal charge called an indictment. In criminal cases it is the responsibility of the government, not the victim, to prosecute the case in court.
The Most Common Reasons to Go to Civil Court
There are many different reasons that people go through the civil litigation process. Some of the more common reasons include the following:
Reason #1: Recover Money from Another Party
There are many reasons you may take someone to court to recover money. The reason could be to be reimbursed for expenses from damaged or destroyed property, to recover an unpaid debt, or recover money for medical bills that were the result of an injurious accident. All of these are common reasons to for civil suits, particularly in small claims court.
Reason #2: To Resolve a Contract Dispute
If you have signed a contract with someone and they fail to fulfill their legal obligations as stated in the contract, then this is a case that can be handled through civil litigation. While there are occasions where the dispute is due to a vague contract, most cases involve one party who doesn’t have the money or means to fulfill their legal obligations.
Reason #3: To Sue Over Physical or Emotional Harm
A civil suit over physical or emotional harm is called a tort. These types of cases are commonly brought to civil court as a result of injuries from assault or battery cases. Another common form is a case of negligence. All tort cases relate in some way to a person’s safety and security.
Next Steps if You Are Considering Civil Litigation
If you have determined that going to court is necessary in your case, you will first need to verify that your reason is a legitimate and legal claim. You also will need to make sure that you have the evidence to support it. While it is entirely possible in many cases to complete the process on your own, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel for advice.