Although litigation has been around for many years, quite a number of people are unclear of what it’s all about. Some are totally clueless; others think it is arbitration, while some believe it is a lawsuit. This has led to many people misinterpreting cases or following a wrong approach when they feel they rights have been violated.
What Is Litigation?
Litigation is a legal process whereby a person who feels his legal rights have been abused or violated seeks the assistance of the court. The law sets out the practices and rules that will govern the whole exercise. It covers a wide range of cases. These include tort, environmental law, eviction, civil rights, contested divorces, insurance claims, personal injury, breach of contract, medical malpractice, tenant/landlord, intellectual property, collections claims, products liability, and more. The person seeking compensation or justice is referred to as the litigator while the other party is the defendant.
What qualifies a case for litigation?
The common misconception is that litigation is just another name for a lawsuit. Unfortunately, it is not. A lawsuit is part of the litigation process. It may or may not feature in the proceedings depending on the outcome of the resolutions or discussions between the parties involved. A case only qualifies for litigation if it is likely to end up in a lawsuit. Cases that lack the potentiality are referred to as non-litigation cases and fall under “Transactional” law. They include estate planning, proprietary sales, and business formations.
Litigation can last for a few days or several years. The following are the steps involved:
- Initial Negotiations:-An attorney will have a sit-down and listen to the parties involved. He will try to help them come up with an amicable solution. The litigator may ask his lawyer to issue a demand letter to the other party. It will state the demands of the afflicted party. The accused can renegotiate the terms.
- Filing a lawsuit:-If initial negations fail, the litigator will seek the intervention of the court. Both parties will hire lawyers to represent them. A process known as discovery takes place whereby both parties will exchange information and documents.
- Motion:-After discovery, the defendant may file a motion. Based on some technicalities or legal rights, he will ask the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. A judge may accept the motion if the defendant isn’t legally bound, or will dismiss it and allow the case to go for full trial.
- Pre-Trial:-Both parties to the litigation will tell their side of the story in a bid to sway the judges or/jury’s decision in their favor. They will provide documentary evidence as well as witnesses. The pre-trial normally is the longest and most critical.
- Trial:-Based on the evidence provided, the judge will rule on whether the defendant has a case to answer. Depending on his defense, the accused may either be acquitted of any charges or asked to settle the claims.
Initiating a legal suit or putting up a solid defense is quite tasking. In fact, many parties to a lawsuit lose out simply because they overlooked several things during the procedure. More often than not the litigator may fail to achieve his goal. Also, the defendant may end up paying the amount or compensation demanded by the accuser. In order to come out victorious, it’s necessary to seek legal services from a competent and highly qualified litigation attorney.