Suing someone is something that many people know they can do if they have been wronged. While a civil lawsuit is typically thought of as being decided in a court of law, the vast majority of cases are settled outside a courtroom. Going through a trial can be costly, and there is no guarantee that the plaintiff will win.
By identifying the three major hurdles that stand in the way of a successful civil lawsuit, you can better determine if a settlement offer is your best option.
The legal system requires that cases which go to court have merit. This means that a plaintiff must be able to prove that he or she has a legitimate grievance in order for a civil case to be heard in court.
Experienced lawyers are capable of establishing the facts of a case and presenting them in a way that makes sense. In the event that a civil case doesn't have legal merit, there is always the possibility that the case will be dismissed before going to trial.
2. Summary Judgement
One of the more challenging hurdles to overcome in a civil lawsuit is the possibility of a summary judgement. Summary judgement occurs when a defendant asks the judge presiding over a civil lawsuit to throw the case out. This request is made on the basis that there isn't enough evidence for a jury to rule in favor of the plaintiff.
Summary judgement typically comes into play after the discovery period has elapsed. It can be difficult to predict if summary judgement will apply to a civil case prior to filing the lawsuit, so accepting a settlement offer prior to the close of the discovery period can be beneficial.
3. Jury Opinion
One of the most difficult variables that can affect the outcome of a civil case is the opinion of jury members. If a civil lawsuit does go to trial, a jury will hear the facts of the case and make a decision regarding the validity of the plaintiff's case.
When a jury finds in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff can be left with significant legal debts. Settling civil lawsuits out of court is a more affordable and effective way for a plaintiff to ensure that he or she receives the financial compensation that he or she is looking for.
When you know and understand the hurdles that can face plaintiffs filing civil lawsuits, you will be better prepared to make a decision regarding any settlement offers that are extended to you prior to trial. For more information or assistance, contact a local law firm.