In civil litigation, two or more parties to a non-criminal legal dispute present their case before a judge at a trial. In such cases, the plaintiff(s) seek monetary or other damages from the defendant(s).
However, despite the apparent “simple” aspect, civil cases are complex, especially when the parties involved – the plaintiff(s) and the defendant(s) – do not know the phases of the process.
While no case is equal, most civil lawsuits follow a similar course of action. In this article, you will discover the steps of civil litigation in Florida.
What Are the Steps of a Civil Case in Florida? – An Overview
Before proceeding with legal action, the best approach is to sit down and assess the case with the help of an expert civil litigation attorney.
Initially, the plaintiff will begin the process by filing a lawsuit with a civil court in Florida. During the pleadings, the plaintiff’s attorney files a summons and complaint to the court. Then, the defendant (the party being sued) will be served a complaint.
Upon receiving the complaint, the defendant has a specific time frame to respond in court by filing an Answer to Complaint. In this answer, the defendant will either admit or deny the plaintiff’s allegations.
The defendant’s attorney will also proceed to set forth the counterclaims, which are legal defenses against the plaintiff’s claims, as well as claims against the plaintiff.
It is crucial to pay attention to the deadlines, as if the defendant fails to answer the complaint in time, the civil court may award the plaintiff a default judgment against the opposite side.
Once the defendant’s response has been filed in court, the discovery phase begins. The discovery phase is crucial, as it is the time for both parties to exchange relevant documents and information concerning the issues that led to the lawsuit.
During this phase, both parties’ attorneys will utilize several tactics to gain further information. The most used techniques include interrogatories, requests for documents, written questions to be answered by the other party under oath, etc.
In the pre-trial phase, both parties can file motions to decide one or several issues in litigation before proceeding to the trial in court. In the weeks before the definite day, the attorneys must wrap up all gathered evidence and prepare for court.
Additionally, the pre-trial phase is crucial to advise and instruct clients, conduct pre-trial depositions with key witnesses, make the best of pre-trial conferences, and tailor the strategy for the trial.
When the parties cannot solve a civil case in the pre-trial phase, the lawsuit must proceed to trial in court. In this context, the attorney’s strategy to go before a jury or a judge is vital, as it may determine the case’s outcome.
During the trial, both parties will submit their evidence and argument before the judge/jury. Ultimately, either a judge or a jury will decide the case, judging in favor of one of the parties.
Still, there is the possibility to appeal the decision of the trial court with a Florida appellate court. Nonetheless, appealing a civil case is a complex decision, which requires the guidance of an experienced Florida civil litigation attorney.
Do You Need Expert Legal Advice in a Florida Civil Case? – Work with Jurado and Farshchian, P.L.
Winning a civil case in court involves a set of complex variables. Whether you are filing or defending against civil litigation, it is crucial to work with a well-versed civil litigation attorney in Florida.