Litigation & Dispute Resolution
“Litigation” means the process by which disputes are resolved in our court or government administrative agency systems. “Civil Litigation” means the resolution of non-criminal disputes between people and/or businesses, through the court system. Examples of Civil Litigation include disputes over money or property.
Civil Litigation includes disputes where someone has been harmed by another’s wrongdoing or wrongful act, and a lawsuit is filed. For example, personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits claiming damages caused by another’s negligence or wrongdoing in the operation of a car and related automobile accidents; through nursing home or other medical negligence; and in slip and fall accidents. Civil Litigation also includes claims and disputes over product liability (defective products like certain drugs, machinery, etc.), and other wrongful acts. Also, a lawsuit to recover for economic injury caused by another’s wrongful acts would fall within the realm of Civil Litigation.
Civil Litigation also includes business and/or contract related disputes, such as disputes over a person or businesses failure/refusal to perform contract obligations or other agreements. These kinds of disputes might be related to construction or remodeling of a person’s home or businesses. Or, they might be as simple as someone’s failure/refusal to pay money owed on an account. Contract law is the part of civil law that interprets written contracts between parties and resolves any disagreements. Contract law is the basis of all commercial dealings from buying a bus ticket to trading on the stock market.
Other examples of Civil Litigation include:
- Arbitration matters
- Business torts
- Commercial litigation
- Construction disputes
- Contract disputes/breach of contract
- Insurance claims and coverage disputes
- Property damage claims
- Personal injury
- Trials and appeals
All civil actions are subject to statutes of limitations. This means that, after a certain amount of time, the case cannot proceed in court, or brought to trial, regardless of how good a case it was. If you think you have a potential claim, you should take immediate action and consult an attorney.
Aside from simply settling your case through negotiations, there are two primary options for dispute resolution techniques: Arbitration and Mediation. Arbitration is the reference of a dispute to one or more independent third person(s) who hear the parties’ sides of the case and make a decision, much like a judge would. Sometimes the parties have agreed In advance to be finally bound by the arbitrator's decision, preventing either party from proceeding in court.
Cases that are arbitrated are generally resolved faster than conventional lawsuits because there is less bureaucracy and court congestion is not a problem; however, arbitration can sometimes be a disadvantage because of the limited preparation time and limited ability to investigate and review the other side’s documents, etc. Contracts often contain arbitration clauses, limiting the parties’ right to pursue one another in court for wrongdoing. Sometimes these clauses attempt to force a parties to arbitrate in another city or state. You should be very careful when signing contracts, to ensure that, if an arbitration clause is present, it is likely to be in your best interest.
Mediation is an informal, voluntary process in which a mediator helps to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution between disputing parties. Unlike arbitration or litigation, mediation does not force a solution, and is not binding. If the parties cannot negotiate an acceptable settlement, they may still arbitrate or litigate their dispute.
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