A lawsuit is a legal case brought by one party against another to resolve a dispute. Lawsuits can be leveled against individuals as well as corporations and business entities. Lawsuits can be filed for a wide variety of reasons, but most commonly include: contract disputes, damage to property or personal injury, work-related issues, credit card debt and more. Lawsuits are different than criminal cases in that they can involve monetary compensation rather than a conviction.
The first step in any lawsuit is to determine the cause of action. This is the foundation on which the case will be built and must be supported by sufficient evidence. The plaintiff must then prepare a complaint that sets out the facts of the case and the legal theory that those facts support the claim for damages. Once the defendant has received a copy of the complaint, they have a specified amount of time to file an answer that includes their side of the story. They may also file counter-claims, which assert that the plaintiff has harmed them in some way and should be held liable.
During discovery, the parties will exchange documents and testify at depositions to gather evidence in the case. After the discovery process is complete, the parties will present their evidence to a judge who will instruct the jury on how to apply the law to the evidence and reach a verdict. Many lawsuits do not make it all the way to a trial and are resolved through settlements or mediation.