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What should I expect in civil litigation?

If you are facing civil litigation for any reason, you likely are scared, stressed and concerned about what comes next. Not all civil litigation cases will make it in front of a judge, as many will be settled out of court or dropped. So, what should you expect in civil litigation?

First off, a civil action is started with a complaint, which is typically accompanied by a summons. The complaint explains the claims made by the plaintiff against the defendant. This document is almost always prepared by a lawyer.

You will find that a civil action begins when the complaint is filed with a court. There are times when the civil action begins when the defendant is served with the complaint and summons. If this is the case in your jurisdiction, the civil case could take quite some time before it reaches the court.

If you have been served with a complaint, you have a set period of time to respond to it. This is typically no longer than three weeks. Answers should include the following information from the defendant:

  • Admitting to the complaint
  • Contesting the complaint
  • Defenses to the complaint
  • Possible claims against the plaintiff

Once the complaint is answered, both sides will trade documents related to the case, which is known as discovery. Alternate dispute resolution is a common method used to resolve the complaint outside of court by both parties. If no decision can be made, the case will go to trial.

An experienced civil litigation attorney can answer questions related to the process and what you will face in such a case in Cleveland. Don't go it alone when there is an attorney who can help you navigate the legal waters.

Source: Findlaw, "What to Expect - A Lawsuit Chronology," accessed Sep. 28, 2017

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