Civil litigation is one method used to resolve legal disputes or controversies through the court system. Civil litigation may occur between individuals, entities, or out-of-state corporations. In a civil litigation matter, the party filing a lawsuit is known as the plaintiff, and the party being sued is known as the defendant. The plaintiff files a civil lawsuit to recover monetary compensation, equitable relief, or various other remedies from the defendant.
At Kasan Law, we understand that pursuing or defending a civil lawsuit can be daunting, stressful, and complicated. We are here to help you navigate the often complex and lengthy undertaking involved with a civil lawsuit. Our attorneys represent clients in a variety of civil litigation matters, in both state and federal court, such as:
- Personal Injury
- Premises Liability
- Medical Malpractice
- Vehicle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Nursing Home Negligence
- Wrongful Death
- Public Transportation Accidents
- Commercial Litigation
- Contract Disputes
- Business Ownership Disputes
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
At Kasan Law, our primary focus is to help you achieve a solution that aligns with your goals and objectives. Contact our Chicago and Illinois civil litigation attorneys to schedule your free consultation.
What are the phases of civil litigation in Illinois?
While every civil lawsuit matter is unique, the process can be broken down into the following phases:
- Pleadings: The pleadings are the initial step in a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff starts the civil lawsuit by filing the complaint with the appropriate court. In the complaint, the plaintiff will outline their grievances, the events leading to the dispute, the harm they suffered, the legal basis for holding the defendant responsible, and the remedy they want the court to provide. In response, the defendant may file an answer to the complaint, counterclaim, motion seeking to dismiss the complaint, affirmative defenses, or a combination of either.
- Discovery: The discovery stage of civil litigation is generally the most time-consuming phase and involves gathering evidence relevant to the case. The discovery process requires both sides to exchange information through tools such as depositions, interrogatories, requests to produce, requests to admit, and subpoenas. Discovery allows each party to prepare for trial, build evidence for their arguments, and prevent surprises at trial. Discovery also helps narrow the issues for trial, reveal the case’s strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategies for litigation.
- Pre-trial: The pre-trial phase consists of motions, formal settlement conference, or informal settlement conferences. In a formal settlement conference, both sides present the judge with briefs that outline their arguments and explain what evidence supports their position. Once the attorneys for each side has presented their case, the judge will facilitate the negotiation process between the parties by transmitting the offers and counteroffers. In addition, both parties can file motions asking the court to rule on specific aspects of the trial or their case, such as a motion for summary judgment.
- Settlement: A settlement occurs when both parties reach an agreement on some or all aspects of the lawsuit before or during the trial. If the parties reach an agreement on all issues involved in the lawsuit, the attorneys for the parties will work together on an agreement that lays out the settlement. After the settlement agreement is completed, the parties will review and sign the document, and the judge will dismiss the case.
- Trial: If the case cannot be resolved before or during the trial, it will proceed to the trial phase before a jury or judge. The trial is a formal process that gives both sides an opportunity to present their case. During a civil trial, both sides can make arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses. At the conclusion of the trial, if it is a bench trial, a judge will decide the case and, if it is a jury trial, the jury will decide the case.
- Appeal: After the trial, if a party does not agree with the outcome of the trial, they can appeal the decision to a higher court. In an appeal, the parties submit briefs and the record of evidence from the trial to the appellate court. The appellate court reviews the case for legal errors and issues a written opinion with its ruling. In its ruling, the appellate court will either affirm the verdict. If an error occurred, the appellate court will reverse the verdict or order a new trial.
Do civil litigation matters commonly settle in Illinois?
At Kasan Law, we approach each case as if it is going to trial. However, we understand that pursuing or defending a civil lawsuit through trial can be expensive, stressful, and time-consuming. In Illinois, the overwhelming majority of civil lawsuits do not go to trial and end with a settlement agreement between the parties. The parties are often motivated to reach a comprise amongst themselves because of the uncertainty involved with the outcome of a trial. During a civil lawsuit, there are some common inflection points when a civil lawsuit is likely to settle, such as:
- After a demand letter is sent to the opposing party
- After the complaint and summons is served on the opposing party
- After discovery is conducted
- During a settlement conference or mediation
- Before or during trial
At Kasan Law, we will keep you informed during each step of your case, inform you of available alternatives, and provide an honest and objective analysis of potential outcomes. We provide clear answers to your questions and equip you with the information necessary to make informed decisions about your case.
At Kasan Law, our approach to lawyering enables us to efficiently provide creative, flexible, and individually tailored solutions to the specific needs of each client’s legal issues. Our consultations are free and carry no obligations.
Whether you are looking to pursue a civil lawsuit to recover damages or need to defend yourself in a lawsuit, contact our Chicago and Illinois civil litigation attorneys to schedule your free and no-obligation consultation by calling (312) 300-6724, e-mailing us at [email protected] to request a review of your case, or schedule your free consultation online.