A lawsuit is a civil court proceeding in which two or more parties are in dispute. It can be filed against an individual or a business entity. In most cases, the plaintiff asks for monetary compensation and may seek an injunction. The defendant must respond to the complaint and answer to the claim.
Civil lawsuits include breach of contract, personal injury, medical malpractice, and auto accidents. If you have been injured in an accident, you may be confused about how to file a lawsuit.
To start the lawsuit, the plaintiff files a formal document called a “complaint”. This outlines the case and alleges that the defendant caused harm. For example, if the plaintiff claims that the defendant broke a contract, the complaint will lay out the damages that the plaintiff has suffered.
After a complaint has been filed, the defendant has 20 days to file an answer. An answer admits the allegations of the complaint, but sets out any defenses that the defendant might have.
A judge or jury will determine whether the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s claim. A judge will also make a decision about the plaintiff’s relief, including the amount of money he or she will receive.
A lawsuit can be appealed to a higher court. Appeals are often requested when a party is not satisfied with the decision of the trial court. Sometimes, the judgment will be reversed and sent back to the lower court. Other times, the court will order a declaration of the legal rights of the parties.