Litigation can be a lengthy process, depending on how the parties involved want to proceed. The litigation process can be full of unpleasant surprises and lengthy delays. There are several steps to the litigation process.
The case begins with a complaint, brought forward by the plaintiff, which lays out the claims that they have against the defendant. This legal document is often prepared by a lawyer. Civil action is often initiated by filing the Complaint with the courts. Once the action begins, the Defendant has around three weeks to respond to the complaint. If the Defendant does not answer, the courts may enter a default judgment against the Defendant.
Following this step, the parties then enter Discovery. During this time, the parties exchange information and documents relevant to the litigation. Discovery can be through written questioning, document production and depositions. The information collected is used to prepare the case for trial. During this time, the parties involved will attempt to get rid of the case through motions.
The next step in the litigation process is the actual trial. At trial, both lawyers present evidence and make arguments for each side. The judge or jury will attempt to decide the unresolved issues. Once they have reached a decision, the judge will order the judgment be entered for the party who wins. The litigation process can be as short as six months and as long as several years.
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