Civil Cases

A civil case is a lawsuit is brought by one party to protect, enforce, or redress their private rights and to seek compensation for a wrong done by another.  Civil case matters are not criminal in nature but, rather, involve some private wrong.  The parties involved in a civil case can include individuals, businesses, organizations, or government agencies.  In a civil case, the plaintiff seeks monetary or other forms of compensation from the defendant.  The plaintiff in a civil case is the party who initiates the suit and carries the burden of proof.

The burden of proof in a civil case is a “preponderance of evidence”.   In layman’s terms, this means that a plaintiff must prove the facts they have presented are more than likely to be true.  The burden of proof is very different in a civil case than in a criminal case.  In a criminal case the evidence of a defendant’s guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.  All that is required in a civil case is to show that the allegations against the defendant are more likely to be true than not true.

A civil case can be heard in the state or federal courts, depending on the nature of the case in question.  There are 94 district courts at the federal level which typically have jurisdiction over federal civil cases.  At the state level, the organization of the courts varies from place to place, though every region has a court to handle civil cases.  A civil case will often be heard in a state’s circuit, superior, or district court, each of which serve the same general function in each state.  All states have specific courts with limited jurisdiction over civil cases, such as family courts, traffic courts, and the like.  A civil case can also be heard in a small claims court, when the amount of money that is sought does not exceed a specific dollar amount.

There are several types of legal matters that can be handled through a civil case.  Personal injury or tort law is a major type of civil case which encompasses such issues as transportation accidents, defective drugs, product liability, medical malpractice, and more.  A personal injury civil case is an action to recover damages from the party responsible due to intentional actions or negligence.  A civil case may involve a breech of contract between two parties when there is a dispute over payment for good and services.    Domestic issues, such as divorce, child custody and visitation, child custody, and the division of marital property, can also be settled through a civil case.

If you are interested in filing a civil case, it will be extremely helpful to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney.  The court is not required to provide legal counsel to a defendant in a civil case as they are in criminal cases.  There are time restraints and fees associated with filing a civil case which vary by state and circumstance.  The laws that govern civil case proceedings are numerous and complex.  For this reason, it is important to speak to a legal professional who is trained and experienced at handling civil case matters.  For more information on civil cases, please contact us to speak with an attorney who can evaluate your case to determine how best to protect and maximize your interests.

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