What Is Civil Litigation?
You may have heard the term civil litigation or civil litigator and wondered exactly what they mean. Lawsuits fall into two categories:
- Criminal litigation
- Civil litigation
Criminal litigation is when the defendant broke criminal laws and faces jail time as well as fines and penalties. Civil litigation is everything else. Examples of civil litigation include divorce cases, business lawsuits, personal injury lawsuits, employment disputes, intellectual property disputes, or tenancy disputes. Civil litigation lawsuits are filed by the plaintiff instead of being reported to the police for the prosecutor to file charges.
Civil litigation may not always be to uncover money; it could be to stop a certain action such as harassment or the unauthorized use of intellectual property.
Do I Need the Help of a Civil Litigator?
A civil litigator is a lawyer who specializes in civil litigation. They file civil lawsuits and help negotiate settlements. Whether you need a civil litigator or not will depend on the circumstances of the case and your experience.
Some civil litigation claims do not actually go straight to trial. The plaintiff will report the complaint to a government agency who will investigate the claim. If the claim is small and you are familiar with the process, you do not necessarily need the help of a civil litigator. However, if the claim is large or connected with other issues, then you may need legal help for your civil litigation.
For civil litigation cases that involve large damages, it is prudent to hire a civil litigator. They will be able to evaluate your case and your position and tell you if:
- You have a case
- You have strong enough evidence to support your case
- The possible damages you may win
- What you need to do to prepare your case.
Lawyers can be great sources of knowledge about civil litigation and will often offer free consultations. The free consultation will help you to decide whether you should pursue civil litigation and how likely you are to win. Civil litigation can be an expensive undertaking because of court fees, attorneys’ fees, and fees for collecting evidence. By consulting with a lawyer, you can see if the cost is worth it or not.
If you do decide to proceed with civil litigation, then your attorney can help you to collect evidence and prepare your case. A great civil litigator will keep you updated on the progress of your case and will help you to weigh up options. They will help you try and settle the case through mediation or arbitration if appropriate.
Does Civil Litigation Take a Long Time?
The time civil litigation takes can vary significantly depending on the type of case and the circumstances. A complex case can take years in some cases, and a simple case may take mere months. A number of factors influence the amount of time civil litigation takes, like:
- The amount of evidence to examine during discovery
- The number of witnesses
- The type of case (each type of civil litigation has different procedures)
- Settlement attempts
- The speed of your attorney in responding to things
- The speed of the other party in responding to things
- If the court has a backlog or not
- If the case goes to trial
Civil litigation will generally take longer if it goes to trial, which is why it is in both parties best interest to try and settle the case before trial. However, some trials may be relatively quick.