A civil lawsuit can be filed on behalf of a person who is injured (emotionally or physically), or whose property is damaged because of another person's negligence. A civil suit seeks financial compensation from the person that is being accused of causing the harm. If that person (defendant) is found to be guilty, he or she will be responsible for paying for the damages.
Recoverable compensation might include:
- Medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the damages
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Attorney fees
Is a Civil Lawsuit Different from a Criminal Lawsuit?
Yes. A civil suit is different from a criminal case. A criminal case is filed by the prosecutor charging an individual with committing a criminal act. If convicted, a criminal defendant can face fines, incarceration, and a variety of other penalties. If a defendant is found guilty in a civil suit, he or she is usually required to pay restitution to the aggrieved plaintiff. This money is intended to compensate the plaintiff for the damages they have suffered.
Personal Injury Civil Suits
One major type of civil suit involves personal injuries. A personal injury civil suit can be filed by a person claiming that they suffered harm as a result of another party's negligence or reckless actions. A personal injury lawsuit can involve a broad range of legal matters, including:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accident
- Slip and fall accidents
- Work related accidents
- Dog bites and other animal attacks
- Dangerous products
- Dangerous products
A civil suit can also involve contract disagreements, real estate matters, and other non-criminal legal disputes.
Proving a Civil Lawsuit
In a civil suit, the case must be proved by a "preponderance of the evidence." This means that the person who is filing the lawsuit (plaintiff) must provide enough evidence to show that the defendant he or she is suing actually committed the acts in question and in that the defendant's actions or negligence resulted in the alleged damages.
In a civil suit, the injured or aggrieved party can seek economic and non-economic reparations. Economic damages can include medical expenses, other out-of-pocket expenses, loss of income, and the like. Non-economic damages are intended to provide compensation for pain and suffering, disability, loss of consortium, and more.
In some cases, where the wrongdoing was intentional or malicious, the court may also order punitive damages. Punitive damages in a civil suit are intended to punish the defendant and deter them and others from committing similar acts in the future.
How an Attorney Can Help
A civil suit must be filed within a certain time period. This time period is called the statute of limitations. In most cases the statute of limitations in a civil suit begins at the time of the wrongdoing, though in some cases it begins at the time of discovery. A civil suit must be filed within that certain period of time for the claim to be valid. The statute of limitations varies by case and circumstance.
In order to meet the proper requirements such as the statute of limitations, it is important to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney who is familiar with the process will guide you through the legal process with efficiency and will fight to get your case resolved as quickly as possible.
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