A lawsuit is a civil litigation proceeding in which a party (usually the plaintiff) seeks monetary compensation from a defendant. Plaintiffs can file a claim in court for any number of reasons. Some of the most common claims include personal injury, medical malpractice, automobile accidents, product liability, and breach of contract.
The legal process for a lawsuit begins with the proper service of a complaint. This complaint sets forth the facts that give rise to the plaintiff’s claim. It also contains a prayer for relief and a demand for judgment.
After the court hears the case, a decision is rendered. The judge decides the case based on the law that applies to the facts presented.
If a plaintiff does not win the case, a settlement may be reached. Settlements often involve payment by the party suing to the party who is being sued. Depending on the circumstances, some victims can opt out of the settlement. However, the injured party must be notified and given the opportunity to take the case to appeal.
Class action suits occur when a group of people is affected by the same legal claim. In these cases, notice is sent to all members of the class through direct mailings or by the media.
Class actions are complex to litigate. The plaintiff must prove each element of his claim. Typically, a lead plaintiff handles the case and the lead plaintiff gets a greater share of the settlement.