Resolving a Lawsuit Without a Trial

Contrary to popular opinion, filing a lawsuit is not synonymous with a courtroom trial. In addition to having several stages both inside and outside the courtroom, the majority of civil lawsuits never even make it to trial. In most cases, a final resolution to the dispute is reached before a trial begins; some may also end during the course of a trial, before a jury delivers a verdict.In the United States, a lawsuit can be resolved before trial in several ways:Default Judgment A default judgment is appropriate when a defendant fails to respond (by either admitting to or denying the charges) within the allowed time limit after being served with notice of pending legal action. After this time period has lapsed, the plaintiff may file a motion for default judgment. If granted, the plaintiff is generally awarded the amount he/she sought in the original complaint. However, a defendant may appeal a default judgment by showing that he/she had a reasonable excuse for failing to adhere to the given time limit.Voluntary/Involuntary DismissalA lawsuit can be dismissed either voluntarily (by the plaintiff), or involuntarily (by the judge’s decision against the plaintiff. A voluntary dismissal is available at any time before a defendant has filed an answer to notice of legal action, or afterwards if agreed to by both parties. An involuntary dismissal may be granted if the plaintiff fails to comply with court procedure or court orders.Summary JudgmentIn some situations, the resolution of a case for one side or the other requires no argument at trial. If, by applying legal statutes and concepts to undisputed facts (i.e., facts about the case that both parties have agreed are true), the judge feels that a decision can already be made in the case, he may grant one party’s motion for summary judgment. Summary judgments are often appealed, and tend to face a tough review by appellate courts.SettlementConducting a trial is time-consuming and expensive for both parties. In a large percentage of civil lawsuits, both the plaintiff and the defendant decide that going through the entire trial process is not worth the time, cost, and risk of an adverse judgment. In these situations, the plaintiff and defendant can negotiate a settlement, or agreement to resolve the dispute under certain terms which both parties can accept. Most competent and experienced attorneys place great value on obtaining settlements.To learn more about the nuts and bolts of personal injury lawsuits, visit the website of Chicago personal injury lawyers Friedman & Bonebrake, P.C. at