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How Does a Lawsuit Work? Basic Steps in the Civil Litigation Process

Basic Steps in the Civil Litigation Process


When you file a lawsuit against a person or a company it most likely will fall under civil law. Civil litigation is nearly all legal actions outside of criminal cases and bankruptcy. When you file a lawsuit it will follow specific steps until it is completed.

Complaint: First step in Civil Litigation

The first step is creating a Complaint. This is a legal document which informs the Court and the other party why you are using the entity named in the paperwork. Once this has been filed, the real work begins.

The Second step in civil Ligation is Discovery

Investigating the allegations in the lawsuit through a process known as Discovery comes next. This will be the longest part of the case. Time will be spent investigating facts, interviewing people and taking their statements, and building a case that is worthy to go to trial. During this period you may have to go before the Court for certain pre-trial hearings.

During the case building process, you may also have the other party make a settlement offer. If your attorney feels that it is a complete and fair settlement, they will approach you for approval. If your OKC civil litigation lawyer does not feel it is fair, they will negotiate further with the Defendant while continuing to build a case.

If a settlement cannot be reached before the trial date, your OKC civil litigation lawyer will present your case to the Court and a trial will begin. At the end of the trial, you will receive your decision in the case. If you are unhappy with the outcome, your attorney will review the case and determine if they can file an appeal. An appeal is not automatically given.

Civil litigation often ends before it goes to trial. Trials are very expensive for both parties and very time-consuming. Your attorney will strive to reach a fair settlement before the trial date. However, your attorney will never accept an offer unless you agree to the terms of the settlement.

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