What Does Civil Litigation Entail?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Steven Jones with Phillips Law Group.
Civil litigation refers to a broad range of non-criminal legal proceedings between two or more parties. The type of lawsuits included in the civil litigation category vary widely, from personal injury claims to environmental disputes and more. Typically the damages that can be sought in civil litigation exceed those which can be pursued in criminal court. In fact, the same case may be tried separately in civil court even if it has been or is already being tried in criminal court; this offers crime victims the best chance at recovery. Civil litigation typically entails one or more victims who suffered due to the negligence or intentional conduct of one or more parties presenting their case, proving their damages, and relying on a jury trial for justice if a settlement is not reached outside of court.
Common types of civil disputes include:
- Environmental disputes: Environmental disputes (also referred to as torts, claims, and lawsuits), arise when the actions of an individual or conglomerate harm the surrounding environment and/or the people living in it. Environmental disputes often occur when a company’s manufacturing process releases toxins into the water, air, or ground which then causes harm to people, plants, or wildlife. Environmental disputes may also encompass the destruction of important natural elements.
- Landlord/tenant/property disputes: Landlord/tenant disputes, sometimes referred to as property disputes, typically occur when issues arise regarding property management, maintenance, ownership, boundaries, damage, etc. Property disputes may also occur between neighbors sharing property lines.
- Product liability: Product liability claims arise when one or more parties suffer as the result of a dangerous or defective product. Household appliances, children’s toys, pharmaceuticals, and even medical devices are common subjects of product liability lawsuits. Construction equipment and machinery injury claims often also fall into this category of civil disputes.
- Personal injury: Personal injury civil disputes or “torts” are extremely wide-ranging; these claims may arise whenever someone is injured as the direct result of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing. Car accidents, animal attacks, slip-and-fall accidents, and even assault and battery are just a few examples of the types of cases that fall into this category.
- Intellectual property disputes: Intellectual property disputes typically arise when the ownership of an intangible idea such as a copyright, trademark, or patent comes into question. When one party feels that another has stolen an original idea, it may be possible to file an intellectual property claim, such as a copyright infringement lawsuit.
- Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice claims arise when a patient experienced a new or worsened condition or injury as the result of substandard medical care from a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or medical facility. Medical professionals are required to adhere to something called the “standard of care”; if they fail to do so whether due to negligence or intentional wrongdoing, they could be liable for the patient’s damage in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Workplace safety/injury disputes: Workplace injury disputes arise when someone is injured on the job in a situation that could have been avoided with proper attention to safety. Employers are required to provide reasonable and safe conditions for workers; typically this requirement is met by producing and adhering to acceptable industry safety regulations. When an employer fails to follow or enforce safety regulations, and a worker is injured, the injured party may be eligible to file a workplace injury claim to seek compensation for their damages.
- Workers' compensation: Workers’ compensation or “workers’ comp” disputes may arise when a worker is injured on the job but an employer or insurance provider does not want to provide workers’ compensation benefits. In this scenario, a workers’ comp attorney can help resolve the dispute in court or direct them to file a workplace injury claim if necessary.
To learn more about civil litigation or to discuss the possibility of a claim, reach out to a civil litigation attorney in a relevant practice area near you.