What is civil litigation?
Civil litigation is a lawsuit between two or more people or entities that does not seek criminal sanctions. The remedy sought in civil litigation is usually money or a judgment that requires one party to do something or to stop doing something. Civil litigation encompasses many different kinds of cases, such as personal injury, breach of contract, discrimination, medical malpractice, will contests and real estate disputes.
What do I do if I am sued?
The first thing that you need to do is to determine what you are being sued for, and when your answer to the complaint is due. The best way to understand your rights and the ramifications to you is to contact an attorney. If you are being accused of causing personal injuries as a result of a car accident, and if you have automobile liability insurance, you should contact your insurance company right away.
Where do I go to file a lawsuit?
Where to file a lawsuit depends on the type of suit you need to file. Different courts have power to hear different kinds of cases. Most civil cases can be filed in civil court. Small claims court may be appropriate if you are seeking money damages of less than $5,000. Associate Civil Courts can handle cases in which the possibility of monetary recovery to the Plaintiff is less than $25,000. The state's civil courts can generally handle all other state court matters.
Can I represent myself?
There is no requirement that you have an attorney at anytime during a civil suit. You always have the absolute right to represent yourself. No one else, other than a lawyer, may represent you in a court of law.
Who is the "Plaintiff" and who is the "Defendant"...Who is the "Petitioner" and who is the "Respondent"?
The Plaintiff or Petitioner can be identified as the person or entity that starts the action. The Defendant or Respondent is the person or entity that defends or responds to the action. Different jurisdictions use the terms for different actions. In Missouri, the term "Plaintiff" is most often used for the person who starts the action.
When must I file or respond to a civil action?
Again, that depends upon the type of case. With regard to the filing of an action, there are time limits called "Statutes of Limitation" which determine the time frame within which certain actions must be filed. Different actions are governed by different Statutes of Limitation.
The timeframe to respond to a civil action is generally within thirty days. However, you should seek the advice of counsel immediately before filing any answers. There may be grounds for motions that could be filed to put an end to the suit before your answer is due. By answering without raising your rights at the onset, you could lose your opportunity to end the suit before it starts.
What is personal injury?
Personal injury is a physical or mental injury to a person caused by negligence or a harmful act. Personal injury is also known as bodily injury.
What damages can I collect as a result of my personal injury?
Compensation, or damages, awarded in personal injury claims vary based upon the type of injury and cause. The most common forms of compensation include payment for:
- Medical Bills
- Property Damage
- Lost Wages
- Emotional Trauma
- Physical Disabilty
- Mental Disability
- Pain & Suffering
What is an appeal?
An appeal is a legal proceeding that takes place when a party to a case feels the judgment made by the court was erroneous. That party can ask a higher court to review and possibly reverse the lower court decision or the grant a new trial.