At Ball Eggleston, our focus is in civil litigation and civil law; collaboratively we have handled thousands of cases, protecting those who have been injured or incurred a loss as a result of another party. We hope you never have had to experience physical injury or emotional damage or trauma due to the fault of another. However, should you find yourself in the midst of a civil lawsuit, we are here to help you.
This post, as part of our Law Education Series, will outline the lifecycle of a civil lawsuit. Should you find yourself in a civil lawsuit, it is imperative to understand the progression of a civil case through pre-trial, trial, and appeal.
The pre-trial stage of the civil lawsuit lifecycle includes an initial case investigation, pleadings, and discovery.
1. An initial case investigation determines if enough evidence exists to file a lawsuit or to discover what evidence exists to defend a lawsuit. If enough evidence exists, the initial case investigation leads directly into the pleadings stage of pre-trial activities.
2. The pleadings stage begins when the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney file a complaint with the courts. A complaint outlines factual allegations, highlights legal causes of action, and states what the plaintiff is asking of the courts.
After a defendant responds to the complaint against them, the discovery stage begins.
3. The discovery stage serves two main purposes: it allows both parties to obtain the evidence needed for trial and it allows each side to see the strengths and weaknesses of the other party’s respective case.
When a civil lawsuit makes it through the pre-trial stage, it sees trial.
Unlike criminal cases, civil cases are not entitled to be seen before a jury; civil lawsuits can either be seen by a judge or a jury. When a civil lawsuit is seen by a judge, it is called a “bench trial” and when a civil lawsuit is seen by a jury, it is called a “jury trial.” Regardless of whether a civil lawsuit is seen before a judge or jury, a trial includes opening statements, presentation of evidence, closing arguments, and the rendering of a decision.
When a losing party is unhappy with the decision of a court, they are entitled to appeal that decision to an appellate court. The role of an appellate court is to examine the records of the lower court by examining all transcripts of testimony, evaluating all pre-trial and trial evidence, and hearing additional oral arguments from both the plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s attorney if necessary. Once the review process is completed, the appellate court confirms the lower court’s decision, overturns the lower court’s decision, or sends proceedings back to the lower court for a new trial.
For example, if you are involved with a personal injury lawsuit, either as the plaintiff or the defendant, and the final decision of the court is not in your favor, you have a right to appeal. You can challenge the damages awarded and continue to fight for a new decision. You can submit a notice of appeal demand a re-examination of the case by a higher court.
According to former Chief Justice of Indiana Supreme Court, Randall T. Shepard, approximately only 5% of all civil lawsuits see trial; meaning 95% of civil lawsuits are either dismissed or settled before seeing trial.
At Ball Eggleston, we treat every claim as if it were going to trial and we prepare diligently to be prepared for when your civil lawsuit does see trial. To understand how we prepare, stay tuned for our next Law Education Series post, detailing our role as civil litigation attorneys throughout each stage of the civil lawsuit lifecycle.
Ball Eggleston is located at 201 Main Street, Suite 810 P.O. Box 1535 Lafayette, IN 47902. Contact Ball Eggleston by phone at (765) 742-9046, by fax at (765) 742-1966, or by email at email@example.com. For additional information, find Ball Eggleston online at www.ball-law.com. You can also find us on Facebook and YouTube.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.