A civil court case is a dispute between two or more people or businesses over a personal injury or money. A civil case starts when one party files a “complaint” against another based on actions that harmed them.
In a civil court case, the person or party bringing the complaint is known as the “plaintiff.” The person or party they are filing against is the “defendant.” Civil court cases can include:
- Tort claims for injury to someone’s body, reputation, or property
- Landlord-tenant claims for when a tenant is suing a landlord or a landlord is trying to evict a tenant
- Breach of contract claims when someone has breached the terms of a contract
- Equitable claims, which involves requesting the court order someone to do or discontinue an action
There are several steps in any civil court case, as outlined below.
Filing the Complaint
In the complaint filed with the court, the plaintiff outlines how they were injured by the defendant and the damages they now face. The plaintiff claims they have been harmed by the actions of the defendant. Many times, the plaintiff seeks money as compensation for their damages. They may also ask the court to:
- Preventing the defendant from continuing their harmful actions, which is known as an “injunction”
- Provide an order that states their rights based on a legal statute or contract, which is known as a “declaratory judgment”
Discovery in a Civil Court Case
A civil case may have a period of “discovery.” During discovery, both sides provide each other with information like copies of documents related to the case and witness identities. They will also gather all evidence for their side and file any requests with the court for rulings on evidence or procedures before the trial.
Discovery may also include a deposition, which involves a witness answering questions under oath before the trial. This stage is about evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the other side.
If the plaintiff has hired a personal injury lawyer, they will be vital in this stage. Georgia Code § 51-1-6 states that when a person breaches their legal duty to another and it results in an injury, the injured party may recover if they suffer damages. A lawyer can help gather the necessary evidence of negligence and damages to improve the chances of winning the case.
During the actual trial, a judge or jury will hear the civil court case. Each side will present their evidence, examine witnesses, and offer closing arguments. Some court trials take a few hours, while more complicated cases can take months.
In the end, a decision is made and a judgment is entered. If you are the plaintiff and all goes well, you will be awarded whatever the judge or jury decides. In a personal injury case, you would receive a certain amount of money for your damages.
Get Help With Your Civil Court Case
If you were hurt by someone else’s negligence and need help with your case, John Foy & Associates can help. Our personal injury lawyers have been helping injury victims win their cases for over 20 years. Contact us for a FREE consultation to discuss your situation and how we can assist. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for your FREE consultation.