Civil Litigation

Monetary  damages  compensate  injured parties for  pain  and suffering,  lost  earnings,  and additional  costs  incurred  as  a  result  of  the  other  party’s  failure  to  fulfill  certain  promises. Specific performance is a remedy that is only available when money will not adequately compensate the individual who was harmed. The most common example of when specific performance is allowed is a real estate transaction where the seller tries to back out of the deal. As each piece  of  real estate is considered  unique, only  enforcement  of the  original  contract  of sale usually adequately  compensates  the buyer.

Civil lawsuits can also arise from criminal actions. Battery is an example of this type of situation. Battery is defined as the harmful or offensive touching of another. In this example, the offender could be subjected to a criminal penalty and sued civilly for monetary damages. Wrongful Death is another example of conduct that can lead to both criminal penalties and a civil lawsuit for monetary damages.

What does Litigation mean?

Litigation is the term given to the process of bringing a case to court. Although many cases are settled outside of court, if a settlement cannot be achieved, litigation will commence. It is basically civilized warfare.

The first step in the litigation process is the filing of a complaint by the plaintiff. The complaint sets out the acts which the party believes are illegal and the damages being sought.  The plaintiff is the party that is bringing the lawsuit.  The person answering the complaint is called the defendant.  The defendant’s answer will state why he/she does not feel they are responsible for the damages being claimed.  After the complaint and answer are filed, the parties will engage in “discovery”, which is the sharing of information. Ultimately, once the discovery is complete, a trial will be held.  This can be before a judge or a jury, depending on the type of matter involved.

How do attorneys charge for these types of cases and can you afford a lawyer?

Clients are understandably concerned about how they will be able to pay a lawyer. However, in many cases, there is no need for worry as attorneys frequently work on a contingency fee basis. This means there are few, if any, upfront costs and the fee is paid at the end of the case once a settlement or judgment is obtained.

What actions you should take if you feel you have been wronged:

You should consult an attorney immediately to discuss the situation and ensure you do not miss any deadlines. Also, over time certain evidence can be lost or destroyed which may have a significant impact on your ability to pursue a claim.  An attorney will know what evidence to look for how to protect it in the event of a lawsuit.

Hiring a law firm such as Carter DeYoung, who has a vast amount of experience in civil litigation, can be critical to your success.