How a Lawsuit Works


A lawsuit is a court proceeding in which someone claims damages from another party. There are many different types of lawsuits, including class actions, consumer litigation, employment cases and tort claims. Lawsuits can be expensive and time consuming, but they can also resolve disputes. In most civil cases, both parties must agree to a settlement if they want the case to end. This is often less stressful and costly than a trial.

To begin a lawsuit, the plaintiff files a complaint with the court. The complaint includes the legal claim, identifies the parties involved and describes the dispute. The complaint will include a request for relief, which explains how much money the plaintiff believes they are owed to compensate them for their losses or injury and any non-monetary “equitable remedy” that they would like the court to order, such as requiring the defendant to change their behavior.

The defendant will be served with the complaint, and may file a response called a cross-claim or answer. The defendant may also file a motion to dismiss, which is a request that the case be dismissed due to some defect in the plaintiff’s complaint or some other reason that doesn’t require the court’s attention.

The discovery phase of a lawsuit is when both sides investigate the facts of the case. This can include interrogatories, depositions, requests for admissions and inspection of documents. During this time, the plaintiff must convince the jury that it is more likely than not that the defendant caused their damages or injury.

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