The Stages of Court Litigation


Filing of ComplaintIn many states in the U.S., the formal case process begins upon the plaintiff’s filing of a complaint to a particular judicial body or court. This document contains an explanation of the particular action or neglect, which the defendant has done, that causes harm to the plaintiff and why the defendant should be held liable for the resulting damages. The individual or the party accused will also be given a copy of the said complaint.The Defendant’s ResponseUsually, the defendant will be given a three-week period to make his response to the accusations of the plaintiff. Here, he can defend his side on the matter and make his counter affidavit to prove his innocence. Depending on their disparity, a party may ask the other to clarify some issues so that they may settle on the said complaint.If in case the defendant fails to respond, the court may result to a default verdict on the case.Other AlternativesSince a whole litigation process may take a lot of time to resolve, most court rivals just lead to other legal alternatives like out-of-court settlements and arbitration. Settlements can be conferred by both parties even if the litigation process is still on going. This is considered as a more cost-effective option compared to court trial.Meanwhile, arbitration refers to the legal process in which both parties agree to have a neutral party to look on their case and impart his judgment on the case. However, this abbreviated alternative is quite informal. Nonetheless, a number of courts are in favor of this kind of case resolution especially if the problem involves minor offenses or crime.In a normal situation, both parties who agree to be engaged in arbitration cannot make any objections on the decision of the arbitrator.The Trial ProcessIf both parties do not come up with other alternatives, then the trial proceedings will take place. For this instance, both parties will be given their time to present their evidences to support their accusations or defense. Both lawyers will also be given their time to question the plaintiff, defendant and their respective witnesses (if there is any).Once both parties have presented their side on the case, it is now the time for the judge to give his decision based on the strength of the evidences presented and the statement credibility of both parties including their witnesses.