What Is a Lawsuit?


A lawsuit is a civil legal action in which a person or organization files a formal complaint in a court of law to recover damages from another party. The plaintiff’s claim is usually for monetary compensation and the defendant is required to pay.

There are many different kinds of lawsuits. Most are resolved without going to trial. Occasionally, arbitration is used instead. Those in the legal field may choose to take their case to a higher level of court, such as a court of appeals.

While most people think of litigation in terms of defending themselves, there are also those who choose to go to court in order to obtain a fair settlement. This is a legitimate choice. Typically, a civil suit is a financial dispute between two parties, such as a landlord and tenant. Often, these disputes are over money, such as the return of a security deposit.

In addition to monetary claims, there are also non-monetary equitable claims, such as seeking an injunction to prevent another party from encroaching on your property. Regardless of whether a case goes to trial or is settled, the benefits of successful litigation include being able to keep similar incidents from occurring in the future.

The discovery phase is the longest part of a lawsuit. Before the case can be heard by a jury, the defendant must provide information that proves his or her side of the story. Some of the most common methods of gathering relevant information are document review, witness interviews, and research into the law.

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