What Is a Lawsuit?


A lawsuit is a legal proceeding in which one party files a complaint against another party. While the term “lawsuit” is an archaic term, it is still used in some jurisdictions. A lawsuit begins with the plaintiff filing a complaint claiming a specific legal or equitable remedy against the defendant. The defendant has a limited amount of time to file an answer to the complaint. Then, the plaintiff may file a reply to the defendant’s answer.

There are several steps involved in preparing for a lawsuit, including filing the initial complaint, serving the defendant, replying to the defendant’s answers, and filing a motion for summary judgment. Most lawsuits include a pre-trial motion, which allows the parties to obtain more information and settle procedural disputes before the case goes to trial. In some cases, a party can even move to have the case dismissed altogether by presenting evidence to the court.

In most cases, a civil lawsuit seeks compensatory damages. The plaintiff hopes to recover the cost of an accident as well as the financial harm suffered. This compensation is determined by tallying bills and calculating the financial harm incurred. Loss of wages can be calculated using averages in the past. But pain and suffering damages and other compensatory damages can be harder to quantify. Nevertheless, if the plaintiff can prove that they suffered permanent damages as a result of an accident, they can sue for these.

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