There are two broad types of law – civil and criminal law. When you have a case against a person or their property that case falls under civil law. Criminal law is the category of law that deals with cases that pertain to wrongdoings against the society at large. You should, thus, expect civil cases to feature things to do with family disputes, small claim lawsuits, personal injury cases and negligence.
Litigation to do with automotive accidents will most likely lead to civil litigation. Other litigation may be as a result of an allegation of negligence, e.g., when someone has a responsibility of maintaining their property to ensure other people are not hurt when they access the said property. Civil law, as previously mentioned, also encompasses family law where cases to deal with child custody, divorce and adoption are handled.
Also worth mentioning is the fact most often there are special courts for specific categories of civil law cases. A good example is a family law court often set aside to handle matters that touch on family issues. Small claim cases are generally cases that involve small amounts of money and will often be heard in small claim courts.
The proceeding of civil law litigation in the US begins when a complaint is filed for wrongdoing. The person filing the lawsuit is known as the plaintiff while the other party is known as the defendant. More often than not, the complainant will have consulted a civil law attorney to ascertain the validity of the case before filing.
In the civil law court, the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff to prove his case against the defendant. It is no wonder civil litigation lawyers are expected to be very competent to ensure the evidence shows what is known as preponderance of the evidence. Also worth noting is the fact the plaintiff’s attorney will always present their case first before the defendant’s attorney offers their side of the story as they try to counter the claims presented forth by the plaintiff.
Another fact to keep in mind is the results of the civil suit will be determined and issued by a judge unless there is a special request for a jury trial. The jury trial will often be made up of between six and twelve judges that will sit in private and determine the verdict. Unless on very rare occasions, the jury’s verdict is often unanimous. Having said that, it is highly recommended you identify a reputable civil law firm to handle your case. Having a competent and experienced attorney is especially important in cases where compensation is at stake.