What Is The California Civil Litigation Process?
The civil litigation process is often complicated, and there are state-wide and local rules of procedure that must be followed. Understanding the basics of this legal proceeding will allow you to approach your civil case with confidence and clarity.
Civil lawsuits begin with the drafting and filing of a complaint. This explains to the court and the defendant what the plaintiff is suing for, and must be served upon the defendant within 60 days of the complaint being filed .
From there, the defendant has 30 days to file their response to the lawsuit. Depending on the nature of the response, there may be legal proceedings to have the case dismissed or the lawsuit amended before it proceeds. The civil case will then enter the discovery stage, where both the plaintiff and defendant gather evidence pertaining to their respective sides.
Once discovery is complete, one or both parties may make a motion for summary judgment. This motion asks the judge to decide whether either party is entitled to win as a matter of law. If the motion for summary judgment is denied by the court, the case will be set for trial.
The trial determines which party’s facts are true, and this is decided by the judge or jury. If the case verdict is in favor of the defendant, the case is concluded. If the verdict is in favor of the plaintiff, the judge or jury will determine the amount of compensation to be rewarded, and a judgment will be issued.
Once a judgment is issued, either party has the option to file an appeal or make a post-trial motion to amend or vacate the judgment.
How Long Does It Take For A Civil Claim To Be Resolved?
Civil cases in California resolve on their own individual timelines. Most cases take between 2-5 years after they are filed to be resolved if they go to trial. Many civil cases are resolved through settlement if all parties are able to agree to an informal resolution. When there is clear evidence and the prevailing party is apparent, the timeframe has the tendency to accelerate – especially when there is an adept attorney managing the case.
It is important to understand that there are considerable differences in the amount of time it takes to resolve a civil lawsuit. This depends upon whether or not the case settles, when it settles, the court’s availability to set the matter for trial, and if any judgment it is appealed. Whether your case goes to trial or not, working alongside an experienced attorney will ensure that you are able to obtain the best outcome available for your situation.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Filing A Civil Lawsuit In California?
The statute of limitations refers to the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits must be filed within a specific timeline, and generally, once a case’s statute of limitations is up, the legal claim is no longer valid.
This period of time varies depending on the type of legal claim. Some common statutes of limitations for civil legal disputes include:
- Personal Injury: 2 years from the injury, however, if the injury was not discovered immediately, then it is 1 year from the date of discovery.
- Breach Of Written Contract: 4 years from the date that the contract was broken.
- Breach Of Oral Contract: 2 years from the date the contract was broken.
- Property Damage: 3 years from the date of damage.
- Claims Against Government Agencies: These claims must be filed with the agency within 6 months (or in some cases, 1 year) of the incident. If the claim is denied, you have the option to file your lawsuit in court – but there are strict limits to when.
If you are involved in a civil case in the greater Valencia, CA area, our firm would love to hear from you. To get started with a proactive legal plan today, please do not hesitate to contact Lustgarten Law for an initial consultation.