“I’m calling my lawyer!” the character screams on the screen. In movies and on television, it’s easy to know when someone needs a lawyer. In life, however, it isn’t always so easy to determine what kind of legal assistance you need. While a civil lawyer can meet a number of needs for individuals, families, and businesses, today, we’re going to look specifically at the civil litigation in Bucks County and Philadelphia and the value a good civil lawyer brings to the table.
What Is Civil Litigation?
Civil litigation is any legal dispute between two or more parties that does not include any criminal accusations. In these situations, laws may have been broken, but they don’t fall within the scope of criminal law. Plaintiffs (the ones bringing civil litigation) may seek monetary damages or specific actions from the defendant (the party defending themselves in civil litigation). Some of the types of disputes covered in civil litigation include, but are not limited to,
- Immigration cases
- Product liability
- Construction liability
- Medical malpractice
- Personal injury
- Real estate disputes
- Workers’ compensation claims
- Intellectual property disputes
- Anti-trust litigation
- Landlord/Tenant disputes
Finding yourself embroiled in civil litigation, as a plaintiff or a defendant, can be stressful and even frightening. However, it’s important to remember that these legal proceedings do not involve criminal charges or criminal penalties. As such, the standard of proof is usually less strict than in criminal litigation. In criminal trials, the prosecution must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in a civil trial, it’s the most convincing side that prevails, even if there is doubt about the veracity of their case.
Common Civil Litigation Terms
Legal terms can seem like a whole different language to those outside of the legal profession. Sometimes, they are, as some legal terms come from Latin. However, even the English terms you recognize can seem confusing in a legal context. At Voloshen Law Firm, our professionals are committed to ensuring that our clients understand every part of their civil cases.
Some of the more common civil litigation terms you will encounter are,
- Action: The term for a lawsuit.
- Tort: The act of wrongdoing that resulted in another party suffering loss or harm. Tort comes from the Latin word, Tortum, which means “wrong”.
- Petition: A pleading or legal document that requests (or petitions for) a court order.
- Complaint: Papers filed with the court that sets a civil case in motion. It’s literally the complaint made to the court.
- Cross-complaint: Legal paperwork filed by the defendant to start their own lawsuit against the original plaintiff, a co-defendant, or someone not yet involved in the civil case.
- Damages: The reward sought by the plaintiff in a civil case for loss or injury. There are different types of damages including punitive, compensatory, statutory, and more.
- Deposition: A sworn statement for a civil case made by witnesses outside of the courtroom.
- Arbitration: When two parties agree to resolve issues outside of the court through a private panel of arbitrators.
- Settlement: An agreement that all parties of a civil case come to that ends the case. A settlement may or may not include an admission of wrongdoing.
What Does a Civil Litigation Attorney Do?
A litigation attorney, or trial lawyer, represents their clients in civil disputes. They may be the lawyer for the plaintiff or defendant in the case. Many specialize in specific areas of civil law, such as divorce, immigration, medical, or civil rights. Civil litigators are responsible for all of the major actions of the case, from interviewing clients, conducting depositions with witnesses, and filing the necessary paperwork. Attorneys often work with other attorneys as well as a team of legal secretaries and paralegals who assist them and their clients in the work.
Do You Need a Civil Lawyer?
Schedule a consultation today. Our firm offers services in English, Russian, Ukrainian, and Spanish.