A case, controversy, or lawsuit. A contest authorized
by law, in a court of justice, for the purpose of enforcing
a right. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits
are called litigants.
The process of bringing and pursuing a lawsuit. Litigation
often proceeds much like trench warfare; initial
court papers define the parties' legal positions as trenches
define battlefield positions. After the initial activity,
lawyers sit back for several months or years and lob legal
artillery at each other until they grow tired of the warfare
and begin settlement negotiations. If settlement is unsuccessful
(90+% of all lawsuits are settled without trial), the case
goes to trial, and the trial may be followed by a lengthy
Many states have enacted, or are considering, reforms
directed at shortening the time a case takes to get to trial
and minimizing the expense traditionally associated with
litigation. Among these reforms are: 'Fast track' rules
that prohibit delays and require each phase of the case
to be completed within a particular period of time; Limits
on how much information can be obtained from the opposing
party; Requirements that certain types of cases be arbitrated
(a simpler procedure) rather than pushed through the court
Requirements that attorneys inform their clients of alternative
dispute resolution procedures such as mediation, and;
Court-sponsored techniques such as mini-trials and early
neutral evaluation that are designed to get the parties
to settle by giving them a realistic assessment of what
is likely to happen if the case goes to trial.
What is Litigation?
Litigation is the term typically used to describe all the legal
steps involved in settling a controversy between two or more
parties before, during and after the actual trial for either
civil or criminal cases. Many attorneys who practice litigation
handle both criminal and civil law cases, as well as alternative
dispute resolution methods of settlement like mediation and
arbitration, as well as administrative trials and hearings.
Who gets involved with litigation?
Litigation can involve anyone—two individuals, an individual
with a business, a business with another business, an individual
with a government agency, a government agency with another government
agency, and the list goes on. The parties involved in the dispute
are called "litigants," a term most people have heard on shows
like The People's Court and similar court proceedings that are
shown on TV. Of course, in addition to the litigants, there
usually are attorneys, a judge and typically a jury involved,
depending on the case and whether or not the case goes to trial.
What if I filed a lawsuit, can I still settle out of court?
Yes, you can settle your case out of court even if you've already
file the lawsuit. But, it's best to get the settlement in writing,
for your protection. If you've already filed the lawsuit and
decide to settle, the settlement agreements generally state
that the suit will be dismissed "with prejudice," which means
that it cannot be re-filed. If important issues are at stake,
or a substantial amount of money is involved, it is a good idea
to consult a litigation attorney or you may find that you've
bargained away your rights.
Should I hire a Litigation Attorney?
Whether or not you plan on litigating, a litigation attorney
would be able to determine what's the best approach for your
case and advise you on the next steps to take. Even if you decide
to settle out of court, a litigation attorney will help you
get the settlement you deserve or otherwise assure that your
legal rights are being protected. Use the search form on this
page to find a litigation attorney that's best for you and your
can occur in a wide range of accidents; however leading causes
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