A lawsuit is a legal procedure where a party seeks to hold another party responsible for a specific action. If successful, the court can hold the defendant liable and compensate the victim.
Lawsuits can be based on a variety of grounds. Some of the most common include personal injury, medical malpractice, automobile accidents, and fraud. These cases can involve any number of parties, including businesses and non-profit organizations.
Before a lawsuit can proceed, a plaintiff must file a complaint in court. This document describes the harm caused by the defendant and explains why the plaintiff is suing. The defendant must then respond to the complaint, which lays out their defenses.
A lawsuit can be filed in either state or federal court. However, the details of a lawsuit’s procedural rules differ from state to state. They are regulated by both statutory laws and constitutional provisions.
During a trial, each party presents evidence. After hearing the evidence, a judge or jury weighs the evidence and makes a decision. Usually, a judgment is made that requires the defendant to pay a certain amount of money to the plaintiff.
Depending on the case, a case may be resolved without a trial. In most cases, the parties will voluntarily settle.
A lawsuit can also result in a court order requiring a defendant to stop or limit their behavior. For instance, a court might order a plaintiff to take a physical examination. Or, a defendant may be ordered to pay for a missed appointment.