When individuals or businesses have a dispute involving money or equitable relief, those disputes can be resolved by agreement of the parties, mediation, arbitration or litigation. If litigation is required, the dispute starts with the aggrieved party filing a complaint in a court with jurisdiction over the dispute alleging the nature of the dispute, and the amount of the damages or the requested relief.
Civil disputes take many forms. Examples of common civil actions include contract disputes, breach of duty, negligence, property rights, civil rights, among many others. The burden of proof is on the one making the claim to prove the harm or injury and the resulting damages. In civil cases, the burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not that the claim is true.
Basic preparation for litigation often includes the filing of motions, conducting discovery, taking depositions of witnesses, and the hiring of experts when necessary. A key part of civil ligation is proving the damage, harm or injury for which compensation is sought. Sometimes there is a civil wrong, but no real financial remedy that justifies the cost of the litigation.
Some people fear litigation. Litigation is time consuming, and can be expensive. It comes with risk. If the case cannot be settled, sometimes litigation is the only remedy. Litigation requires lawyers skilled or trained in trial procedures, and how to conduct jury trials. Litigation also sometimes involves appeals.
Regardless of the action, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can analyze the claim and assist in a plan to resolve the dispute.
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