A lawsuit involves a dispute between two parties and is decided by a judge. The judge is a government official who has the power to decide the case. The Supreme Court, which is the highest court in each state, appoints justices to hear and decide lawsuits. A judgment is the official decision of the court, which sets the rights and duties of the parties.
A lawsuit can take months or years to resolve. It can involve multiple witnesses. The lower the amount at stake, and the fewer issues that must be resolved before trial, the faster the lawsuit can be resolved. A personal injury lawsuit can take six months to a year. However, it is possible to settle a lawsuit even before trial.
A lawsuit usually starts with the filing of a complaint in court. The complaint describes the alleged harm the defendant has caused the plaintiff. It may also ask for monetary compensation or an injunction. A plaintiff will also arrange for the service of process (serving the defendant) by a court officer. This means that the plaintiff will serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint and summons. The summons provides the defendant with a general description of the case and explains why the court should hold the defendant responsible for the harm.
In a civil lawsuit, if the dispute cannot be settled, the court will order a trial. At trial, the plaintiff and defendant will present their case and each other’s evidence and arguments. In this process, the plaintiff will present their case first, and the defendant will present his/her case second. The plaintiff will then present evidence in rebuttal of the defense. This evidence may include documents, expert testimony, and exhibits. If necessary, witnesses may be called to the witness stand for questioning. Once this is complete, the court will instruct the jury about the law that governs the case.