Civil law cases are those that are not criminal in nature, but involve one party suing the other, often for money. The most common are personal injury lawsuits, but civil law can also involve one business suing another. While businesses require it, it is highly advisable for individuals to consult with a Sugar Land civil lawyer before filing a lawsuit.
Put simply, civil lawsuits occur when one party feels that they have been damaged — financially or otherwise — by another party. The first party sues the second party to correct the injustice. The damages are what the first party is demanding from the second party to be made whole. These damages are often very easy to determine (i.e. medical bills, cost of goods, physical property). However, some civil damages are more difficult to prove (i.e. pain and suffering, damage to reputation). Your attorney can present the evidence to a judge or jury to decide who is responsible and determine the value of the damages.
A civil law case may be a car accident where someone has sustained significant injuries, or it may be a family dispute over property ownership. Common civil law cases include:
Despite being quite common, civil cases in Sugar Land often require the complex legal expertise that only an experienced attorney can offer. For corporations, Texas law requires that businesses use a licensed attorney to represent them. Individuals are permitted to represent themselves (“pro se“) or hire an attorney. Even with legal representation, your success is not always guaranteed. Many civil disputes requires close attention to detail and legal experience with the Sugar Land litigation process.
A civil case takes place in three major phases: pre-litigation, discovery, and trial. During pre-litigation, your Sugar Land civil attorney will try to resolve your issue amicably with the other party. This gives each side the opportunity to save the time and expense associated with litigation. If this is unsuccessful, the plaintiff then files a petition with the court. The plaintiff serves the petition on the defendant, who is then given a chance to respond. This starts the discovery phase of litigation.
In discovery, the both sides exchange important information to prove or disprove liability and damages. Each party may ask the other to respond to written questions or submit to an oral questioning, known as a deposition. Once discovery is completed and each side has collected their evidence, the case proceeds to trial.
During trial, each party presents their evidence to either a judge or jury (the “fact finder“). It begins with an opening statement by each side, followed by witness testimony and the submission of physical evidence (i.e. documents, etc.) to the fact finder. The trial ends with each side delivering their closing statement. The judge or jury weighs the evidence and determines whether the defendant is liable for damages, and if so, what those damages are.
If either party is not happy with the verdict, either side can file an appeal. In the appellate process, either of the parties asks a higher court of law if they feel that there were errors made during the trial. The higher court can then affirm the original court’s decisions, or overturn it and require another trial.
Regardless of your particular situation, our Sugar Land civil lawyers can assist you or your business’s claim. Our attorneys have helped litigate numerous civil cases through every stage of litigation. You can rest assured that our litigation professionals will see your interests are maintained throughout the legal process. If you have a civil claim, please contact our office for a free consultation.