Not every legal dispute requires that you hire a civil litigation attorney. Some smaller legal disputes under $35,000.00 fall within the small claims court jurisdiction. The Small Claims Court has fairly straightforward procedures so that the public can often represent themselves.
There are times, however, when you may find yourself in a dispute with another party and you are unable to come to an amicable settlement agreement. In this instance, you may decide that it’s better to fight the matter in court.
That way, an independent person known as the judge will make the decision after listening to both sides of the dispute. But an important part of this process is how you portray your story in the courtroom. This is where a civil litigation lawyer comes in.
A civil litigation attorney is aware of all the important processes, procedures, and legal jargon to give you the best chance of winning your case. So, if you are second-guessing whether you should obtain legal representation, keep reading. In this article, we take a look at 10 reasons to hire a civil litigation lawyer.
What Is Civil Litigation?
There are two kinds of litigation: criminal and civil. Civil litigation deals with legal disputes between private individuals or an entity such as a company. Usually, in civil litigation, one or both of the parties to the dispute feel that they are entitled to a sum of money or an object.
When it comes to a civil trial, neither party is considered a criminal. There is a plaintiff and a defendant. The plaintiff is the party who brings the claim to court. A party brings a claim to court by issuing a Statement of Claim. The Statement of Claim sets out the claim that the plaintiff has. In other words, what entitles him 0r her to the sum of money or the object.
The defendant is the person who needs to answer the plaintiff’s claim. The defendant does so in his or her Statement of Defence.
The Civil Litigation Process
Once the claim and the defense are set out, the parties then deal with the discovery of documents. Each side must produce documents relevant to their claim and defence. In larger claims, the parties have the opportunity to ask the other side questions under oath about the claim. This is known as the examination for discovery.
The parties will then have a pre-trial conference. This is a meeting where the parties may attempt to resolve the claim and if unable to settle, the judge will set a trial date.
The plaintiff and the defendant and any witnesses they will rely upon will then appear in court on the trial date each represented by a civil litigation lawyer who will set out each party’s case on their behalf. The trial will start with an opening statement by the plaintiff’s civil litigation lawyer. This statement briefly sets out the claim, the defense, and the relief sought.
After the opening statement, the attorney will often call the plaintiff to the stand to take the oath. His or her legal representation will then ask questions to best set out their side of the story. The defendant’s civil litigation lawyer will then cross-examine the plaintiff. This means that the lawyer will try and find inconsistencies or untruths in the plaintiff’s claim. The process is repeated with the defendant and all witnesses for each side.
Once the examination and the cross-examination of the witnesses are completed, the plaintiff and defendant’s civil litigation attorneys will then give their closing arguments and the judge or jury will give judgment. This could be a few days or weeks after the actual trial date.
What Does A Civil Litigation Lawyer Do?
There are several different kinds of lawyers and they all specialize in different areas of the law. So, it’s important to know which area of law your legal problem falls into so as to approach the right attorney with the required legal knowledge.
Plus, to avoid losing your claim due to the Statutes of Limitation, you want to approach a lawyer as soon as possible. If you think you may have a civil claim, take a look at some of these areas of civil law to ascertain where your legal problem fits.
Areas Of Litigation That Civil Lawyers Specialize In
- Environmental law
- Personal injury law
- Family law
- Property lawsuits
- Anti-trust litigation
- Product liability lawsuits
- Medical malpractice
- Construction liens
- Builders liens
- Estate litigation
- Shareholder oppression
- Business disputes
- Intellectual property disputes
But what else does a civil litigation lawyer do? A litigation lawyer will handle all the processes and procedures in the pre-trial phase. Some of these tasks include:
- develop a strategy and theory of your case
- locating and preparing essential witnesses to support your case
- hiring expert witnesses where necessary to support your case
- creating a discovery plan
- preparing and filing documents at court
Your litigation lawyer will also assist you with reaching an amicable settlement agreement. But, if the parties are unable to do so, your legal counsel will then start to work on preparing for trial. This process entails preparing procedural motions and filing them at court, representing you in court, and questioning witnesses.
Lastly, if you hire a civil litigation lawyer, it is important to note that they have to uphold a certain standard of ethics when representing you. This means that your civil lawyer has to advise you taking into account your best interests as well as the law. That’s why having an experienced civil litigation attorney is essential to building a strong legal case.
When To Hire a Civil Litigation Lawyer
There are many reasons why an individual or company may require the assistance of a civil lawyer. Usually, parties try to settle the matter themselves through mediation or a round table. But this is not always possible.
You may be getting divorced and could be struggling to reach an agreement regarding support payments for your child or spousal support payments. Or, you may moving out of a rental and have a dispute with your landlord regarding the repayment of the deposit. These are both instances where you could hire a civil litigation lawyer.
Basically, any dispute that needs to be dealt with in a court of law or at a tribunal such as the Landlord and Tennant Board, may require the assistance of a civil litigator.
But, there may be some other transactions that are legal in nature and require legal knowledge to ensure the protection of your legal rights or the legal rights of your own business. For example, if you own a company and you are purchasing or selling a property. Your civil lawyer has the necessary legal expertise to review and draft contracts to ensure that you do not end up litigating unnecessarily.
So, it’s best to reach out to a civil litigation lawyer to discuss your options. Whether it’s litigating in the courtroom to resolve a legal dispute, or some legal advice to avoid litigation. It is always best to consult and be aware of all your legal options than try to represent yourself in court – especially if the other party has decided to hire a civil litigation lawyer.
10 Reasons To Hire A Civil Litigation Lawyer
Litigation can feel overwhelming, daunting, and has the reputation of being very expensive. However, this is seldom the case when you hire a civil litigation attorney. Because they understand the law, its processes, and court procedures, they will step into your shoes and deal with the entire civil dispute.
That way, you as the client are relieved of much of the stress and anxiety that comes with civil litigation cases. Plus, it’s possible for a litigation lawyer to save you money in the long run. This is because you have a higher chance of winning the civil litigation case if you are properly represented.
These are just some of the reasons to hire a civil litigation lawyer. Let’s take a look at a few more!
1. The Law Is Complicated
The legal system is complicated. Not just the court procedures and processes but also the law itself. Lawyers spend many years studying the law and its interpretation and thereafter must article for a year as a trainee lawyer. Most new lawyers practice under the guidance of a more senior lawyer until they gain the practical experience to win cases. It takes many years to become a fully qualified lawyer.
So, it’s clear that one requires a certain level of expertise in order to understand legal concepts and argue matters in court.
That’s why, if you need to argue a matter in court it’s best not to represent yourself. And this is especially the case if the other side has a litigation lawyer. You may not understand how to interpret legal concepts or how to effectively set out your case with appropriate and admissible evidence. This could be to your disadvantage as the judge or jury may struggle to understand your claim or defense.
Trial lawyers, however, have a thorough understanding of legal issues to best represent clients or outline their legal options should they not wish to litigate.
Plus, a civil litigator stays up to date with recent case law precedents. Often, members of the public are unaware of the advancements or changes in the case law. It’s often not reported in the news unless it was an extremely public case. So, you may have a really strong case due to a recent judgment but have no idea.
A civil lawyer will know the worth of your case and may even take it on a contingency fee basis. This is a no-win-no-fee arrangement.
2. Not Having An Attorney May Cost You More
The cost of a civil litigation lawyer is always at the forefront of one’s mind. You may think with the help of Google you could do your own case research and go the self-representation route to save money. But, this is not always the case.
By hiring a good lawyer, you can get the advice you need on the different aspects of your case. This is ultimately in your best interests and could help you save money. For example, in law, there is something called punitive costs orders.
Judges award these orders when a party brings frivolous litigation or where defendants defend cases they know in law they have no defense for. If the judge awards a punitive costs order against you and in favor of the other party, you may end up paying all of your legal costs as well as the legal costs of the other side.
This could end up being extremely costly and in some situations could have a lasting financial effect. So, it is in your best interest and your financial best interest to hire a civil litigation lawyer. Sometimes, counsel argues legal costs separately from the main civil dispute. In this instance, representation by a civil litigation lawyer is essential to ensure you are given a fair costs order.
It’s clear that the money spent on a civil lawyer has the ability to save you money and potentially protect you from an adverse costs award. Some civil litigation lawyers offer a free consultation.
3. A Civil Litigation Attorney Can Gather Evidence To Prove Your Case
Many people underestimate how much time and effort goes into preparing a civil litigation case for court. That’s why many good lawyers offer to gather evidence as one of their legal services. In other words, they will work to build your case on paper and seek out witnesses they can call to testify in court.
Dealing with a civil suit can be stressful enough. A lawyer makes the process so much easier. All you will have to do is book a consultation and take the litigation lawyer through your case. You tell them the story in chronological order, being careful to mention all parties involved.
Your civil litigation lawyer will then go and interview witnesses, obtain any CCTV footage that might be available, obtain any voice recordings, messages, or letters that could help build your case.
Plus, your case may require one or two expert witnesses to be called. This may seem like a daunting task, but most experienced civil litigation lawyers know exactly who to call and have a range of experts who they have worked with for many years.
Gathering the evidence is not the only step involved in the litigation process. This evidence also has to be formally brought to court and the opposing side at the appropriate time and using the correct procedures.
If this is not done, there is a chance that the Judge could declare your evidence inadmissible because it was not brought before the court appropriately. This is the last thing any party to a civil suit would want as it has the potential to completely derail your case.
4. You Lower Your Chances Of Risk
The stakes can be extremely high in a civil litigation case. Sometimes, a legal dispute can involve a large sum of money or an expensive asset like your home. So, there is a chance that losing the case may have an extremely negative impact on you financially. In other words, the risks are high.
When you hire a civil litigation lawyer, however, you lower your chance of risk. The risk will still be there – no matter how good your case is, there is always a chance the judge may not find it in your favor. However, your lawyer will be sure to protect your interests as best they can.
Not everything in a civil litigation case is 100% guaranteed. But, if something does go wrong, at least you know you have an expert in the field by your side. Plus, if you go into a civil lawsuit unrepresented and the opposing party has a good lawyer, your chances of winning the case are very slim.
This is the case even in a scenario where you have a very good case and have done nothing wrong. There is far more to a civil lawsuit than just having a good case. Some lawyers are extremely good at presenting facts and circumstances in a way to suit the needs of their clients’ cases. So, even if you have a strong case, there is still a chance you may lose if unrepresented.
Therefore, to lower your risk and protect your interests as well as your financial interests it’s best to consult with a civil litigation lawyer.
5. An Experienced Civil Litigation Lawyer Will Give You Peace Of Mind
Again, it’s not impossible to represent yourself in court but it’s not advised. Most lawyers don’t even represent themselves. It’s always best to have a neutral party that has no emotional attachment to the case and argue the matter.
Sometimes, our emotions can cloud our judgment and that’s why it’s better to hire a civil litigation lawyer. They are also available to constantly provide you with peace of mind. You get regular updates and answers to all your questions regarding the case and justice system.
Further, the main reason parties enter into civil lawsuits is because one or both of the parties are unable to communicate properly. One of the parties may be stubborn and not be open to negotiating on certain aspects. This usually all changes when involving a lawyer.
Lawyers are trained negotiators and know exactly how to work with difficult people. So, you can have peace of mind that your case will be moving toward finality with the help of your lawyer.
6. Attorneys Know All The Tedious Procedures And Court Rules
There is a lot more to civil cases than standing up in court and arguing a matter. There’s a ton of preparation that comes before the trial which includes paperwork, drafting documents, filing them at court within the prescribed time limits, and arranging service of these documents on the opposing party. If parties do not comply with these limits, they risk having their case thrown out or evidence declared inadmissible.
Some of the evidence and documents have to be brought to court attached to specific forms, such as an affidavit or other prescribed form. It is essential to follow all the procedures correctly.
There are also different procedures for different areas of civil litigation. For example, some matters are heard before a tribunal and not necessarily in a court of law. So, it’s difficult for a self-represented party to know all the necessary steps and processes. An experienced civil litigation attorney is well versed in all of these time periods and procedures. They will ensure that you have the best chance at winning your case.
7. You’re Filing A Personal Injury Claim
When fighting a personal injury claim, it’s best to hire a civil litigation lawyer to ensure that you receive a fair settlement. Being the injured party, you will need the time to recover. You may have PTSD from the accident and will be in no position to deal with a personal injury case on your own.
A lawyer will assist you with all aspects of the case. This includes consulting with the insurance company, with your place of work, and consulting with potential witnesses or gathering evidence.
Sometimes, insurance companies try to reduce your claim or even reject your claim entirely. When you are at your most vulnerable, they may seek to place some of the fault on you and therefore reduce your claim. Lawyers represent clients in these civil suits all the time. An experienced personal injury lawyer will deal with your insurance company so you do not have to.
Insurance Policies are complex and contain a lot if fine print. Do not worry about the fine print, let an experienced personal injury lawyer deal with it. That’s why if an insurance company reduces or denies your claim it’s best to consult a lawyer.
If you have suffered a disability as a result of your personal injury, you may not be able to work at your job in the same way anymore. So, you may require some financial assistance to cover your wages and salary. This requires a strong set-out case and expert evidence so it’s best to have a lawyer on your side. They will assist with gathering evidence.
If you lost consciousness after the accident, it could be hard to remember details – like the other parties involved. Your lawyer can obtain CCTV footage if any, interview witnesses, and visit the accident scene. They also know what to look for to build strong civil suits.
8. The Other Party Has A Legal Representation
If the other party has a lawyer and you don’t, you could be at a huge disadvantage – even if you think you are right and you’ve done nothing wrong. This doesn’t count for anything in a court of law and a lawyer on the other side will use the legal skill and strategy they have learned over many years to break down your solid case.
Plus, there are so many procedures and time limits to comply with. If you miss one of them, there’s a chance the lawyer on the opposite side will act quickly to have your claim dismissed. That’s why hiring a civil litigation lawyer is so important no matter how good your case is.
It’s best in all civil cases to book a consultation with a lawyer. Even if it’s just to get a rundown of the procedures and time limits if you insist on going through the justice system unrepresented. Lawyers will always protect their own clients’ interests. You don’t want to lose your case purely on a technicality. Plus, not having representation when the opposite side has a lawyer could lead to a costs award against you. So, you may be in a worse off financial position than you were before the litigation.
9. You Are Filing A Discrimination Or Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit
Civil cases that involve discrimination or sexual misconduct are sensitive and overwhelming and you could benefit from hiring a civil litigation lawyer.
Firstly, building strong discrimination or sexual misconduct lawsuit is difficult. This is because the evidence is not always readily available. Sometimes, there may be witnesses, but usually, defendants commit this misconduct discreetly. So, hiring a civil litigation lawyer will be of great assistance.
In addition, when it comes to discrimination or sexual misconduct cases, going up against a company can be extremely daunting. Big corporations often spare no expense when it comes to hiring their legal representative. This is because they have their reputation to uphold and a case of this nature could completely derail their brand. Companies know that often consumers will boycott brands associated with discrimination or sexual misconduct. So, they will stop at nothing to protect their brand.
Sometimes to do so, they offer substantial out-of-court settlement offers. This may not be the kind of justice you want, but you may feel pressured by a big corporation.
Lawyers work to protect their clients’ interests at all costs and, in doing so, will advise you on all aspects of litigation and out-of-court settlements. That way, you can make an informed decision and go with the option that works for you. As such, lawyers can be a great advantage in this instance on top of the usual court file preparation and document filing.
Moreover, after going through something so traumatic, you may require professional assistance. Often, attorneys are well connected to psychologists who can assist with counseling. This is an important part of recovery that is often overlooked. But, by hiring a civil litigation lawyer, you will be briefed on all options that will help you.
10. You Are Trying To Settle A Spousal Support Case
It’s unfortunate, but often family law matters can end up in court. These are often spousal support cases or child custody cases. When it comes to spousal support, child custody, or child support, it is essential to have a lawyer. If you are unrepresented, these matters have the potential to go horribly wrong.
The court takes any matter concerning a minor child very seriously and expects strict compliance with timelines and any court orders granted by a judge. So, it is not only essential to have a lawyer to represent you and prepare a strong case, but also to explain the nature of any court orders granted so as to ensure you comply fully.
There is also a lot of time and important detail that goes into preparing a spousal support or child support case. The court will scrutinize all your income and expenditure and will require evidence of each. In other words, you will have to show till slips and indicate how much you spend on yourself and how much you spend on your child. The court will then use a special calculation to determine the monthly child support and spousal support payments. This is to ensure that the amount is fair for both parties and the child.
Child custody litigation is another area that requires legal assistance. A court is very reluctant to remove a child from the custody of one or both parents. So, if you feel that your partner may be an unfit parent, you will have to gather sufficient evidence to set this out before the judge.
Family law matters are also extremely time-sensitive. Because of this, it is best to hire a civil litigation lawyer as soon as possible to protect your financial interests and your child’s interests.
It is clear that criminal law is not the only area of law that requires legal representation. Even in matters pertaining to civil litigation, it is important to protect your interests and get the right advice for your legal needs.
So, whether you are entitled to a sum of money or a specific object or you have been served with a Statement of Claim, you will benefit from legal representation. No matter how strong your case may seem, you do not want to lose on a technicality because you didn’t follow the correct procedures.
Even though court costs may seem high, you could be worse off financially if you lose a case due to a procedural mistake. It’s not worth it.
If you have a claim you’d like to bring or a matter that’s pending against you, be sure to contact one of our professional litigation attorneys today for a free consultation.