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What Is a Civil Lawsuit?

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A civil lawsuit is basically any lawsuit filed  in an attempt to legally recover monetary damages or to have a specific action from a legal contract upheld in a civil lawsuit. Civil lawsuits are different from criminal proceedings in that civil proceedings are used when someone has been damaged by another’s actions or a product and seeks money, rather than criminal prosecution.

There are countless reasons for someone to file a civil lawsuit. Some of the more common reasons include personal injury, libel or slander, breach of contract and others.

Personal injury

Personal injury runs the gamut from minor injuries from a car accident to wrongful death. The two parts of a personal injury civil lawsuit are proving liability and assessing damages. The plaintiff must first prove that the defendant is responsible for any injuries suffered. Once that is accomplished the parties then determine the extent of the injuries and reach an appropriate dollar figure.

Libel or slander

Also included in personal injury claims is damage to a person’s reputation or professional standing. This is caused when a person states as fact untrue assertions about another person. This action is libel when the untrue statements appear in print, slander when spoken. The wronged party has the right to sue for damages if he can prove that the statements were untrue.

Breach of contract

Civil lawsuits in breach of contract cases can be different from typical civil lawsuits because sometimes a decision for the plaintiff results in an action, rather than a monetary payment. For example, a person may hire a contractor to perform some work and pay all or a portion of the fee up front, while the contractor agrees to finish the work by a certain date. If the contractor does not uphold his end of the agreement, the plaintiff may file civil lawsuit for breach of contract to force the contractor to perform the work immediately. Other breach of contract cases, such as employment contracts, can still result in financial decisions.

Civil lawsuits can be a good way to recover monetary damages when one party has wronged another. A civil attorney is important in helping you work through the various complexities of the legal system, the civil proceedings and knowing your rights, whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant.

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