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Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Premises Liability
St. Louis
Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Construction Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Dangerous Drugs
Defective Products
Chemical Exposure

The Civil Lawsuit Process Explained [May 2024 Guide]

Use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a Civil Lawsuit Claim.

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Written By:
Tor Hoerman
Tor Hoerman

Attorney Tor Hoerman, admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association since 1995 and The Missouri Bar since 2009, specializes nationally in mass tort litigations. Locally, Tor specializes in auto accidents and a wide variety of personal injury incidents occuring in Illinois and Missouri.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

The Civil Lawsuit Process Explained by Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers

In this guide, we’ll discuss the Civil Lawsuit Process, steps in civil cases, different features and aspects of civil lawsuits, how long you have to file a civil lawsuit, and much more.

What Is a Civil Lawsuit?

Civil lawsuits play a crucial role in maintaining justice within society.

Unlike criminal cases involving the state prosecuting individuals for breaking the law, civil lawsuits are disputes between private parties seeking compensation or resolution for a perceived wrong.

Understanding the nuances of civil litigation is essential, especially for those contemplating or engaged in personal injury lawsuits.

civil lawsuit process; civil lawsuit; steps of a civil lawsuit; process of a civil case

Knowing what to expect and how the process works is vital if you’re involved in a civil lawsuit.

TorHoerman Law has knowledgeable attorneys who can guide you through the civil lawsuit process.

Our team of experienced lawyers has a proven track record of success and is dedicated to fighting for your rights.

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a civil lawsuit instantly.

Table of Contents

Understanding Civil Lawsuits

To provide a better understanding of civil lawsuits, it’s important to distinguish between two main types of legal cases: Criminal and Civil.

Criminal Lawsuits

Criminal lawsuits involve the state prosecuting individuals for breaking the law.

The government, represented by a prosecutor, brings the case against the defendant in criminal lawsuits.

Private citizens cannot bring criminal charges against others.

Criminal legal proceedings are limited to the state.

The defendant may face fines, probation, or imprisonment if found guilty.

Civil Lawsuits

Civil lawsuits involve disputes between private parties, individuals, or entities.

The individual bringing the case to court is called a plaintiff, while the party being sued is called the defendant.

When it comes to the right to an attorney, criminal cases have a constitutional guarantee, meaning that the state must provide a lawyer to defendants who cannot afford one.

Civil cases have no constitutional guarantee, and parties are responsible for hiring their own attorneys.

The parties may also represent themselves (pro se), but this option is not recommended as the legal system can be complex and challenging to navigate without proper knowledge and experience.

The trial process in civil lawsuits is different from criminal cases.

In criminal cases, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, where the burden of proof is much higher.

In civil cases, the plaintiff only needs to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that the plaintiff must provide enough evidence to confirm that the defendant’s actions caused harm or violated their rights.

Criminal cases almost always involve jury trials, in which a group of citizens determines the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

In civil lawsuits, the parties may choose between a jury trial and a bench trial, in which the judge deliberates and makes the final decision.

In a civil lawsuit, the defendant does not face criminal, but rather pays compensation for the plaintiff’s damages, as well as punitive damages.

Civil Lawsuits Simplified

Civil lawsuits are legal disputes between individuals, organizations, or both, where one party seeks compensation or remedy for harm caused by the other’s actions.

Unlike criminal cases, which deal with breaches of public law, civil cases typically involve personal disputes, including contract issues, property disputes, and personal injury claims.

The critical elements of a civil lawsuit process can include:

  • A dispute between private parties or entities
  • Plaintiffs seeking compensation or resolution for perceived harm or wrongs
  • Lower burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence)
  • The choice between jury trial or bench trial
  • Potential for financial compensation or other remedies, not imprisonment

Both parties are responsible for hiring their own attorneys.

Civil lawsuits can cover many issues, including personal injury claims, contract disputes, property damage, and more.

The purpose of these lawsuits is to seek compensation or resolution for a perceived wrong done by one party to another.

The Four Elements Required for a Civil lawsuit

In a civil lawsuit, proving the case requires meeting specific legal standards known as the four elements of negligence.

These elements form the backbone of the claim, establishing the foundation upon which the lawsuit is built and determining the plaintiff’s ability to successfully hold the defendant liable for the alleged harm or loss.

The four elements include:

  • Duty: Establishing that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff, typically arising from a recognized relationship under the law, such as that between a business and its customers or a doctor and patient.
  • Breach: Demonstrating that the defendant breached that duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way, showing negligence or failure to meet the standard of care.
  • Causation: Proving that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries or losses, necessitating a clear link between the action and the harm suffered.
  • Damages: Identifying and quantifying the losses or injuries sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s actions, which can include physical injuries, financial losses, and emotional distress.

The Significance of Civil Lawsuits in the Judicial System

Civil lawsuits are vital for enforcing the private rights of individuals and entities, serving a pivotal role in the fabric of the judicial system.

They provide a platform for resolving non-criminal disputes fairly and, when necessary, compensate those who have suffered losses or injuries due to another’s actions.

Such legal mechanisms uphold the rule of law by ensuring accountability and deterring potential future wrongdoings.

By allowing the adjudication of civil matters in a structured environment, the courts offer an alternative to personal feuds or vigilantism, thus nurturing public peace.

Civil litigation not only protects individuals’ rights but also promotes social stability by reinforcing legal norms and fostering confidence in the justice system.

Importance of Understanding the Civil Lawsuit Process

Knowing the civil lawsuit process is crucial for anyone involved in a civil dispute.

Understanding what to expect can help parties make informed decisions, and having an experienced attorney by your side can significantly increase your chances of success.

Understanding the civil lawsuit process is particularly vital for individuals considering or involved in personal injury lawsuits.

The intricacies of such legal proceedings can be overwhelming and complex.

Understanding each step well is crucial for plaintiffs to assert their rights and get the justice they deserve.

Not only does this knowledge empower individuals to make informed decisions, but it also prepares them to work collaboratively with their attorneys to build a strong case.

Plaintiffs may face significant challenges and potentially miss opportunities to present their claims adequately.

Those knowledgeable in the civil lawsuit process can navigate the legal system more confidently and effectively.

Steps in a Civil Lawsuit

A civil case follows a series of steps, which may vary slightly depending on the jurisdiction and type of lawsuit.

Common phases involved in most civil lawsuits include:

  • Filing of Complaint
  • Service of Process
  • Answer to Complaint
  • Discovery Phase
  • Motions
  • Settlement Negotiations
  • Pre-Trial Conference
  • Trial
  • Verdict and Judgment
  • Post-Trial Motions
  • Appeal
  • Enforcement of Judgment

Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer

The journey into civil litigation often begins with a pivotal step, which is the initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

This meeting sets the stage for the entire legal process, allowing the lawyer to assess the case’s merits and guide the client through the potential avenues for resolution.

Upon scheduling an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer, potential clients should gather all pertinent information related to their claim.

Possible documents include:

  • Medical records
  • Accident reports
  • Photographic evidence
  • Correspondence with insurers
  • Detailed personal account of the incident and its aftermath
  • Witness statements and contact information
  • Police reports, if applicable
  • Receipts for medical expenses and treatments
  • Documentation of lost wages and employment impact
  • Any communication with the other party involved in the incident
  • Insurance policy information and claim history
  • Legal documents or previous court paperwork related to the case
  • A list of questions or concerns to discuss with the lawyer
  • Records of any related previous injuries or claims
  • Documentation of property damage, if applicable

Being well-prepared for this first meeting is pivotal, enabling the lawyer to analyze the case thoroughly and provide a well-informed assessment.

These documents are not necessary for a free consultation, but the more information an attorney has, then the better they can assess a case.

Clients can expect their attorney to:

  • Evaluate the Facts: The lawyer will review all the documents and listen to the client’s account to evaluate the strength and viability of the claim. They will meticulously examine the facts of the case and provide a clear, strategic roadmap for their client’s journey through the justice system.
  • Discuss Legal Options: Based on the initial review, the lawyer will explain the potential legal avenues, strategies, and what each might entail. They will translate legalese into understandable terms for their clients, thus simplifying the legal process and setting realistic expectations.
  • Outline Potential Outcomes: Although no lawyer can guarantee a specific result, they may provide insights into possible outcomes based on similar past cases. Attorneys serve as both navigators and advocates, strategically steering the case through the legal process to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients.
  • Clarify Fees and Costs: The consultation will typically include discussing the lawyer’s fees, contingent fee agreements, and other potential costs in pursuing the case. Most lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if and when their clients receive financial compensation from the defendant(s). This transparency enables the client to make an informed decision and avoid financial surprises.
  • Next Steps: If the lawyer accepts the case, they will outline the immediate next steps, including a potential timeline for those actions. Their insights are crucial in preparing the client for each phase of the litigation, from discovery through trial or settlement negotiations.

During this meeting, clients can also ask questions about the legal process and gain an understanding of their rights and responsibilities.

It’s also an opportunity for clients to assess the lawyer’s communication style, experience, and comfort level with the attorney’s approach to their case.

The lawyer must be able to explain complex legal issues in layman’s terms and provide clear, transparent advice.

Clients should feel comfortable confiding in their attorney and believe they are working together to achieve a fair outcome.

This mutual evaluation is critical, as a solid client-attorney relationship is fundamental to the success of any legal proceeding.

TorHoerman Law offers free no obligation consultations to any perspective clients.

Contact us, or use the chatbot to connect with an attorney from our team who can help you assess your claim and discuss your legal options.

Retention and Client Onboarding

Retention and client onboarding are key phases in establishing a formal relationship between a legal professional and a client.

During retention, the client agrees to hire the attorney, often formalized through a retainer agreement that outlines the scope of services, fees, and mutual responsibilities.

The onboarding process follows, where the attorney gathers necessary information about the client’s case, sets expectations, and discusses the legal strategy.

This stage is crucial for building a strong foundation for the case and ensuring clear communication and understanding between the client and the legal team.

An attorney cannot work for you or start working on your case until onboarding is complete.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

After the initial consultation, the lawyer will conduct a meticulous investigation to gather additional evidence and build a strong case.

Potential evidence typically includes:

  • Physical Evidence: This type of evidence includes photographs and videos of the scene, vehicle or property damage, product defects, and other tangible items that document the incident’s circumstances. Physical evidence is critical, as it can help establish the facts and demonstrate the extent of injuries or damages.
  • Witness Statements: People who witnessed the incident and can testify about it are crucial in personal injury lawsuits. Their testimony can strengthen a client’s version of events or provide additional relevant information. In some cases, the attorney may also depose witnesses to obtain a sworn statement that can be admissible in civil court.
  • Police Reports: If the accident resulted in police involvement, their reports can provide valuable information and serve as evidence. Attorneys will obtain copies of these reports and review them to gather critical details. Reports may include information about the parties involved, witness statements, diagrams of the scene, and other relevant information.
  • Medical Records: Medical records are crucial to the evidence, especially in a personal injury case. They serve as proof of injuries sustained in the accident and can help determine the appropriate compensation amount. Lawyers typically request all relevant records from healthcare providers, including hospitalizations, surgeries, treatments, and any other pertinent information, to review them, evaluate the severity of injuries, and ensure their client receives just compensation.
  • Electronic Evidence: With the rise of technology, electronic evidence such as CCTV or surveillance footage, cell phone records, emails, and social media posts can also support a personal injury claim. Lawyers will work with experts to obtain and analyze this type of evidence to strengthen their client’s case.

A lawyer may also call upon an expert witness to provide their professional opinion and support their client’s claim.

These experts may include:

  • Accident Reconstructionists: In complex cases, a lawyer may call on an accident reconstructionist to analyze the accident’s circumstances and provide insight into what caused it. These experts can use scientific methods to recreate the accident and its circumstances, providing a visual representation of how the accident happened.
  • Medical Professionals: In cases where injuries are severe or long-term, medical experts such as doctors or surgeons can provide their professional opinions about their client’s injuries, treatment, and prognosis. Their expertise is crucial in determining the appropriate compensation for medical expenses and future care needs.
  • Scientific Experts: In product liability cases, an attorney may seek the opinion of a scientist or engineer to provide insight into the defective product’s design or manufacturing process. These experts can help prove the company’s negligence and strengthen their client’s case.
  • Financial Experts: In personal injury cases where the damages involve lost wages, future income potential, and other financial losses, a financial expert may provide their assessment of these losses and their professional opinion. These experts can consider factors such as inflation, market trends, and economic conditions to calculate an accurate amount for these damages.
  • Other Experts: Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, a lawyer may also call upon other experts, such as psychologists, vocational experts, or forensic accountants, to provide their professional opinions and support their client’s claim.

An added benefit of hiring an attorney is that they have working relationships with experts specific to all injury and case types.

Lawyers cover the cost of these experts so you don’t have to.

With the help of a skilled lawyer and a group of experts, an injured individual can have confidence that their legal team thoroughly investigates their case and gathers strong evidence to support their claim.

This process may take some time, depending on the complexity of the case and the amount of evidence needed.

An experienced lawyer will be well-prepared to navigate this process and have the necessary resources to build a strong foundation for a successful outcome.

Filing the Complaint

Formal legal proceedings start when the plaintiff files a complaint with the help of their attorney to the appropriate court.

Note that various types of courts exist for different cases, and the plaintiff must file the complaint in the proper jurisdiction.

The types of courts include:

  • Small Claims Court: This state court handles minor civil disputes with a limited amount of money, typically ranging from $2,500 to $25,000. A small claims hearing is generally informal, where a plaintiff presents their case, and the defendant has an opportunity to respond. A jury is not involved, and the judge makes a verdict based on the evidence presented.
  • State or Regional Court: These courts handle criminal and civil cases at the state level and have jurisdiction over personal injury lawsuits, contract disputes, family law issues, and other matters.
  • Federal Court: These courts have jurisdiction over federal law cases, constitutional issues, or disputes between parties from different states.
  • Appellate Court: If a party is not satisfied with the decision made in a trial court, they can appeal to an appellate court. These courts review decisions made by lower courts and may either uphold or overturn them.

The plaintiff’s complaint outlines their injuries, damages, and the legal basis for the claim against the defendant.

It also specifies the compensation they seek for their losses and how the defendant’s actions led to these damages.

The complaint is then served to the defendant, who must respond within a specific time frame.

Defendants may file a motion to dismiss or an answer denying the plaintiff’s allegations.

Filing a complaint is a critical juncture in initiating a lawsuit.

It formally starts legal action against the defendant and sets the entire judicial process in motion.

The complaint articulates the plaintiff’s grievances, the extent of their injuries, and the damages they have suffered.

It establishes legal theories as to why the defendant is responsible and what sort of relief or compensation the plaintiff seeks.

The statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which a person must initiate legal proceedings from the date of the alleged offense or discovery of harm.

This period varies depending on the type of claim and the jurisdiction in which the claim is filed.

If a lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations expires, the legal claim may be permanently barred, preventing the aggrieved party from pursuing compensation or legal action regarding the issue.

The advantage of hiring an attorney is that they know deadlines, and they can make sure that this deadlines are made.

If you do not meet the statute of limitations, then you forgo the possibility of filing a complaint.

By outlining the claim’s legal basis, the complaint allows the court to evaluate whether there is a legitimate foundation for a lawsuit and decide if the case should proceed.

It also provides the defendant with the necessary details to prepare an adequate defense and ensures that the litigation conforms to the principles of due process.

The complaint is a roadmap for the subsequent discovery and trial phases, making it an essential element in legal action.

The Discovery Process

The discovery stage is a critical juncture where both parties present evidence and information related to the case.

This process allows each side to obtain all relevant facts, documents, and witness testimonies to build their arguments effectively.

There are various methods of conducting discovery, including:

  • Interrogatories: These are written questions that parties submit to the opposing side, who must then provide written answers under oath.
  • Depositions: These interviews include live questioning of witnesses and parties involved in the case, where a court reporter records their testimony.
  • Requests for Documents: This method allows parties to request specific documents or evidence from the other side that they believe is relevant to the case.

The discovery process can be lengthy and time-consuming, but it is crucial to building a strong case.

It helps each side understand the strengths and weaknesses of their position, gather evidence to support their claims, and evaluate the credibility of witnesses.

This transparent exchange lays the groundwork for informed decision-making as the lawsuit progresses.

Pre-Trial Motions and Hearings

Before a trial begins, pre-trial motions may shape the course of the lawsuit.

These motions address legal issues, evidence admissibility, or request the dismissal of the case.

Some common pre-trial motions include:

  • Motion To Dismiss: This motion asks the court to dismiss the case due to a lack of evidence, improper service, or failure to comply with legal procedures.
  • Motion To Suppress: This motion asks the court to exclude specific evidence from being presented at trial.
  • Motion for Change of Venue: This motion requests moving the case to a different court due to bias or prejudice in the current jurisdiction.
  • Motion for Summary Judgment: This motion asks the court to rule in favor of one party without a trial based on undisputed facts and applicable law.
  • Motion for Default Judgment: This motion is filed when the defendant fails to respond to the lawsuit within the allotted time, asking the court to rule in favor of the plaintiff by default.
  • Motion to Compel: This motion requests the court to order a party to produce documents or information that have not been provided in the discovery process.
  • Motion for Protective Order: This motion seeks to limit the disclosure of sensitive information, protect witnesses, or prevent harassment during the litigation process.
  • Motion in Limine: This motion asks the court to prohibit certain arguments, evidence, or testimony from being introduced at trial to avoid unfair prejudice.
  • Motion for Continuance: This motion requests a delay or rescheduling of the trial date due to unforeseen circumstances or the need for additional preparation time.
  • Motion for Severance: This motion asks the court to separate issues, claims, or defendants into different trials to ensure fairness or improve efficiency.

The judge will consider these motions and may hold a hearing before making a decision.

Hearings help address issues, such as objections to evidence or testimony.

These hearings allow the judge to rule on contested matters and ensure a fair and impartial trial.

Before the commencement of a trial, several types of hearings can occur.

These hearings can include:

  • Preliminary Hearings: In criminal cases, a preliminary hearing is where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to force the defendant to stand trial.
  • Pre-Trial Conferences: These meetings often occur to help the judge manage the case and to facilitate settlement discussions between the parties.
  • Evidentiary Hearings: These hearings help determine the admissibility of specific evidence and can include hearings on motions to suppress evidence.
  • Status Conferences: Judges use status conferences to get updates on the case’s progress, determine the parties’ readiness for trial, and help the court schedule their calendars.

These hearings help streamline the trial by resolving preliminary issues, setting the procedural groundwork, and encouraging settlements to avoid the need for a trial altogether.

Settlement Negotiations

Settlement negotiations occur throughout the judicial process and can happen at any stage of a lawsuit.

When parties negotiate a settlement, they reach an agreement on resolving the dispute without going to trial.

Settlements are often reached through direct communication between the parties or with the assistance of legal counsel, mediators, or arbitrators.

If successful, the parties have reached a mutual understanding and agreement on resolving the dispute.

One of the most significant advantages of reaching a settlement is that it avoids the time, cost, and uncertainty of going through a trial.

It also gives both parties more control over the outcome since they can tailor the terms of their agreement to best suit their needs.

Parties, often guided by their attorneys, engage in discussions to reach an agreement outside the courtroom.

Factors influencing settlements include the strength of the evidence, potential legal expenses, and the desire to avoid the uncertainties of a trial.

Trial (If Negotiations Are Unsuccessful)

Settlements are not always possible, especially if the parties have irreconcilable differences or cannot come to a mutual understanding.

The case will proceed to trial in such cases, and a judge or jury will decide the outcome.

Trial proceedings include:

  • Jury Selection (Voir Dire): This process involves choosing a group of individuals to serve as the jurors for the trial. Both parties have a say in selecting potential jurors, and they can challenge or excuse specific individuals.
  • Opening Statements: Attorneys for both sides provide an overview of their case and what evidence they plan to present during the trial.
  • Presentation of Evidence: Each side presents their evidence through witness testimony, physical evidence, and documents to support their arguments. This phase includes cross-examination of the opposing party’s witnesses.
  • Closing Arguments: Both sides make a final appeal to the jury or judge by summarizing the evidence and persuading them to reach a verdict in their favor.
  • Jury Instructions: The judge will give instructions on the law that applies to the case and the standards the jury should use to reach a verdict.
  • Verdict: The judge or jury will decide whether the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s claims.

The judge and attorneys play pivotal roles within the judicial system, each with distinct responsibilities.

The judge presides over the court, ensuring the law is applied fairly and impartially.

They rule on the admissibility of evidence, provide instructions to the jury, and sometimes, as in bench trials, deliver the verdict.

The attorneys, on the other hand, act as advocates for their clients.

They present the case in the best light, argue legal points, and aim to persuade the judge or jury of their position.

These legal proceedings are guided by statutes and rules of the court.

The advantage of hiring an attorney is they understand these proceedings.

While attorneys fight for their clients’ interests, the judge maintains the balance, safeguarding the legal process and the rights of all parties involved.

Verdict and Appeals

Once a verdict is reached, the judge will enter a formal decision in favor of one party.

If the defendant is found liable, the plaintiff may receive damages or other remedies as determined by the court.

If either party is dissatisfied with the judge or jury’s verdict, they may file an appeal in a higher court.

Appeals are based on legal errors that may have occurred during the trial, such as incorrect jury instructions or evidence being admitted that should not have been.

The appellate court does not typically consider new evidence but instead reviews the written record of the lower court proceedings to determine if a legal error occurred.

If the higher court finds an error, it may order a new trial or reverse the lower court’s decision.

The appellate process ensures that decisions made at trial are fair and legally sound, providing additional checks and balances on the judicial system.

It also allows for reviewing critical legal issues and guidance for future cases.

What Are the Different Types of Civil Lawsuits?

There are several different types of civil lawsuits.

Each type of lawsuit involves a separate claim or cause of action, and the procedures may vary.

Some common types of civil lawsuits include:

  • Personal injury lawsuits
  • Mass torts claim
  • Class action lawsuits
  • Non-personal injury civil cases

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury lawsuits encompass various scenarios, seeking compensation for injuries or other losses caused by another party’s negligence.

Common examples of personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Car Accidents: When another driver’s negligence causes injuries in a car accident, the injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
  • Truck Accidents: Similar to car accidents, truck accident lawsuits seek compensation for injuries sustained in a collision with a commercial truck.
  • Premises Liability: Property owners have a legal duty to maintain safe premises for visitors. If someone is injured due to unsafe conditions on the property, they may file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner.
  • Product Liability: Manufacturers can be liable for injuries caused by defective products, whether a manufacturing defect, design defect, or failure to warn about potential dangers.
  • Medical Malpractice: When a healthcare provider’s negligence causes harm to a patient, the injured party can file a medical malpractice lawsuit to seek compensation for damages.

Though most personal injury lawsuits seek financial compensation for injuries, some may also seek damages for emotional distress, loss of consortium, property damage, and other damages associated with the incident.

The compensation awarded will depend on various factors, such as the severity of injuries, medical expenses, and loss of income.

Mass Tort Claims

Mass tort claims involve multiple plaintiffs with similar grievances against a common defendant.

These lawsuits typically arise from products or entities that have caused similar injuries to a large number of people.

Mass tort claims are similar to class-action lawsuits, where a group of individuals with similar claims can sue as one collective party.

In mass tort claims, each plaintiff has an individual case and is responsible for proving their own damages.

In most mass tort claims, an injury was suffered, whereas in class action lawsuits an injury was not suffered amongst all members of the action.

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is the legal procedure often used to manage mass tort claims, where similar cases from different jurisdictions are consolidated and handled by one judge.

This approach helps streamline the process and avoid conflicting rulings in various courts.

The MDL process often leads to large settlements as the defendants see the strength of multiple cases against them and seek to resolve the claims more efficiently.

MDL cases are also known for their complexity, with many legal and scientific issues at play.

Hiring a law firm like TorHoerman Law, which specializes in multidistrict litigation, can significantly benefit plaintiffs seeking justice in these types of lawsuits.

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a civil lawsuit instantly.

Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits are often confused with MDLs, but they are different.

The key difference is that in class action lawsuits, the group of plaintiffs is considered one entity represented by a few designated individuals.

MDLs involve multiple individual cases consolidated for pre-trial proceedings before being sent back to their original jurisdictions for trial.

In a class-action lawsuit, if the group of plaintiffs wins, the court will determine the amount of damages awarded and its division among the members.

All affected parties receive some form of compensation while avoiding multiple individual trials for similar claims.

In an MDL, each individual is still responsible for proving their damages and may receive different compensation amounts.

Class action lawsuits often result in smaller settlements or judgments than mass tort claims.

They still provide a critical avenue for individuals to seek justice and compensation when a corporation or company has wronged them.

These types of lawsuits can involve various issues, such as:

  • Consumer protection
  • Securities fraud
  • Antitrust violations
  • Environmental harm
  • Employment discrimination
  • Defective products
  • Privacy breaches
  • Pharmaceutical and medical device injuries
  • Wage and hour violations

Class action lawsuits streamline the civil litigation process by consolidating individual claims into one civil case.

These cases are typically heard in federal or state court, where a judge or jury evaluates the collective impact on plaintiffs.

This approach not only enhances efficiency in the legal system but also ensures that all affected parties have an opportunity for resolution, particularly in complex cases involving personal injury, contract disputes, or other tort claims.

Non-Personal Injury Civil Cases

Not all civil lawsuits involve personal injuries.

Some other common types of non-personal injury cases include:

  • Contract Disputes: When a party breaches a contract, the other party can file a lawsuit seeking damages for losses.
  • Property Disputes: These lawsuits arise when there is a disagreement over property ownership or use, such as boundary disputes or landlord/tenant issues.
  • Employment Disputes: These lawsuits involve disputes between employers and employees, such as wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment claims.
  • Family Law Matters: These lawsuits include issues related to marriage, divorce, child custody, and support.
  • Intellectual Property Disputes: Lawsuits involving patents, trademarks, or copyrights fall under this category.

Non-personal injury civil cases play a significant role in the civil court system, addressing a wide range of legal disputes beyond physical harm.

From the initial filing of a complaint in the appropriate court to the final resolution through a judge’s verdict or settlement, these civil lawsuits require careful navigation of the civil litigation process.

Parties involved must adhere to strict legal definitions and procedures to effectively present their case and seek a fair outcome.

How an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

Dealing with an injury, especially when it’s through no fault of your own, can be overwhelming.

Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and make a significant difference in your case.

An experienced lawyer will have a thorough understanding of the laws related to your claim and know how to negotiate with insurance companies or opposing parties for fair compensation.

They can also collect evidence, interview witnesses, and build a compelling case on your behalf.

A personal injury lawyer can handle all communication and paperwork related to your case, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injuries.

They will also be able to advise you on any potential legal pitfalls and ensure that you do not settle for less than what you deserve.

If your case goes to trial, an experienced lawyer will have the skills and experience necessary to represent you in court effectively.

They will know how to present your case and argue for the justice you deserve.

TorHoerman Law: Your Civil Lawsuit Attorneys

At TorHoerman Law, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll personal injuries can have on individuals and their families.

Our experienced attorneys are committed to fighting for justice on behalf of our clients and seeking fair compensation for their damages.

Whether you have been injured in a car accident, harmed by a defective product, or suffered due to medical malpractice, our team has the knowledge and expertise to handle a wide range of civil lawsuits.

Contact us for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a civil lawsuit instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a civil lawsuit?

    A civil lawsuit is a legal dispute between private parties seeking compensation or resolution for perceived harm or wrongs.

    It differs from criminal cases, which involve the state prosecuting individuals for breaking the law.

    A civil lawsuit is a legal action initiated by one party, the plaintiff, against another, the defendant, to seek resolution or compensation for disputes such as contract breaches, property issues, or family law matters.

    It progresses from filing a complaint, through discovery, to trial proceedings in civil court, differing from criminal cases in its pursuit of remedies like damages rather than penal sanctions.

    The process involves both parties presenting evidence and arguments, with outcomes ranging from monetary awards to specific actions, guided by a lower burden of proof compared to criminal cases.

    Unlike criminal trials, civil cases aim to resolve private disputes and ensure restitution to the aggrieved party.

  • What is the civil litigation process?

    The civil litigation process is a structured legal procedure where parties resolve disputes in a court setting, starting with the filing of a complaint by the plaintiff and followed by the defendant’s response.

    Steps in a civil lawsuit, specifically for personal injury cases, include the following:

    1. An initial consultation with a lawyer
    2. Investigation and evidence gathering
    3. Filing a complaint
    4. Discovery process
    5. Pre-trial motions and hearings
    6. Settlement negotiations
    7. Trial (if negotiations fail)
    8. Verdict and appeals

    The goal of civil litigation is to achieve a fair resolution to disputes with the final outcome determined through a court judgment or mutual agreement between the parties involved.

  • How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?

    At TorHoerman Law, we operate on a contingency fee basis.

    This means that we DO NOT charge for legal representation unless compensation is won in your case.

    In the event of a settlement, legal fees would be deducted from the total compensation according to the contract with your attorney.

    For more information on how our law firm operates, contact us today.

    Use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.

  • How long do I have to file a civil lawsuit?

    The time limit to file a civil lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, varies depending on the type of case.

    It is crucial to consult with a lawyer promptly to ensure compliance with the applicable deadlines.

    The statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit differs based on the legal issue at hand, ranging from personal injury to contract disputes, and is dictated by state and federal laws.

    To safeguard your rights and avoid missing critical deadlines, it’s beneficial to seek legal guidance from a qualified lawyer who can provide detailed information on the specific time frames relevant to your case.

  • Can I file a lawsuit if the defendant responsible has been criminally charged?

    Yes, you can file a civil lawsuit even if the responsible party faces criminal charges.

    Criminal and civil cases serve different purposes, with criminal cases seeking punishment and civil cases seeking compensation for the victim.

    In car accident lawsuits, the responsible party may face criminal charges for driving under the influence.

    The victim can also file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries and damages.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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Here, at TorHoerman Law, we’re committed to helping victims get the justice they deserve.

Since 2009, we have successfully collected over $4 Billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured individuals.

Would you like our help?


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