How a Lawsuit Works

A lawsuit is a legal proceeding brought by one person or entity (the plaintiff) against another person or entity (the defendant) to protect or enforce a civil right. It can involve issues such as breach of contract, financial disputes, personal injury or property damage.

A plaintiff typically wants to be compensated for the loss or damages they suffered because of a defendant’s actions. Defendants typically want to avoid paying for the plaintiff’s losses and may seek a settlement.

Generally, a lawsuit follows the following path:

Complaint Phase:

A complaint is a formal legal document that describes the facts and reasons for filing the lawsuit in the first place. The defendant must respond to this complaint in the form of an answer, admitting or denying statements made in the complaint, filing a counterclaim or filing a motion to dismiss.

Requests for Production:

The parties to a case can send requests for documents from each other and from third parties. These can be large and expansive requests, such as for bank records or cell phone records, or small and focused, such as a copy of a driver’s license or insurance policy.


The opposing side can admit to some of the facts in dispute by turning up in court and answering questions in front of a judge or jury. This can narrow down the issues in dispute and help a lawyer understand how to approach the trial.

Litigation is a complex process and can be very costly, but it is possible to win your case if you have the right legal strategy. You should always consult with a lawyer to ensure you are getting the best representation for your needs and your budget.

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