Filing a civil lawsuit can be difficult. You can file your lawsuit on your own. Or, you can partner with a Michigan civil litigation lawyer to make sure that your claim is submitted properly.
At White Law PLLC, we can walk you through the process of filing a civil lawsuit in Michigan. To submit a claim, contact us today, and we can connect you with our Michigan civil litigation lawyer. In the meantime, we are providing answers to some of the most common questions we get about civil lawsuits in Michigan below.
What Is a Civil Lawsuit?
A civil case involves a disagreement between two people, organizations, or businesses, according to Cass County Courts. In this type of case, one person believes that another party has violated their legal rights or damaged their property. The person who files the claim is the plaintiff, and the party who is being sued is the defendant.
Civil cases are handled by district or circuit courts. Typically, a district court looks at claims in which someone requests $25,000 or less, and a circuit one reviews cases involving claims of $25,000 or more. Also, a circuit court handles felony criminal cases — if the defendant in these cases is found guilty, they can go to prison.
Civil and criminal cases are two very different things. In a civil claim, an individual sues another person, organization, or business for money. Comparatively, in a criminal case, the government brings charges against an individual.
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What Do I Need to Do to File a Civil Lawsuit in Michigan?
There is a standard process for filing civil claims in Michigan. Most of these claims are processed the same way, and the end result is an entry of judgment. Here are the steps to complete to file a civil lawsuit:
1. File a Complaint
Many civil complaints are filed through a district or circuit court. In cases involving a will, trust, or similar claims, you can file your complaint through a probate court. Once your complaint is submitted, the court issues a summons, and the defendant has up to 21 days to respond.
2. Get a Response to the Complaint
The defendant provides a response to the complaint through the same court where it was filed. There can be instances where a defendant chooses not to respond. If this happens, the court may decide to enter a default judgment in the plaintiff’s favor.
3. Discovery Period Opens
In the discovery phase, the plaintiff and defendant will gather relevant information about the lawsuit. For instance, a Michigan civil litigation attorney may order a car accident deposition to the alleged at-fault party in an auto crash. The deposition gives the lawyer the opportunity to ask questions and collect information that they may use to support their client’s case.
4. Pre-Trial Procedures Get Underway
Mediation, conferences, and other pre-trial events may allow the defendant and plaintiff to reach a settlement. The parties involved in a lawsuit can negotiate with one another over the course of their litigation. If they come to terms on a settlement, they can close the case without ever having to go to trial.
5. The Trial Commences
A judge or jury may try a civil case. At the beginning of a trial, each party makes an opening statement. Next, they present their respective arguments, and when they are done, a judge or jury decides the case.
6. A Judgment Is Issued
A judgment is prepared if the parties involved reach a settlement, a verdict is entered, or if the defendant does not respond to the complaint. Usually, the judgment is prepared by the party that achieved their desired case result. The court enters the judgment.
7. Post-Judgment Procedures Begin
If a defendant is required to pay compensation to a plaintiff, they must do so, per the ruling. Meanwhile, a plaintiff or defendant has the option to appeal a civil case decision. They have up to 21 days from the date of the final order to file their appeal.
A civil litigation lawyer in Michigan can teach you about all that the civil trial process entails. At White Law PLLC, our team can help you prepare for this process. To learn more, get in touch with us.
Is Mediation a Viable Option to Resolve a Civil Case in Michigan?
Michigan offers the Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) to help people resolve civil cases through mediation. This program is used by nearly 30,000 Michigan citizens every year. It gives people access to mediation services before a trial is needed.
During mediation, an impartial third party listens to what each participant has to say about the case. This mediator then helps these individuals address issues and look for ways to resolve their disputes. There are many reasons why mediation is a superior option over going to a civil trial, and these include:
- Flexibility: In a mediation session, participants get the opportunity to discuss any issues that they want.
- Control: Mediation participants — not a judge or jury — decide the outcome of a dispute.
- Forward-Looking: Participants can focus on both current issues and ones that may crop up down the line and address such problems accordingly.
- Creativity: This option gives participants the ability to develop solutions that the court may not consider.
- Confidential: Nothing said in a session can be made public.
- Effectiveness: Participants reach an agreement in roughly 80% of cases where mediation is used.
A civil litigation attorney in Michigan focuses on protecting their client’s legal rights and best interests, even if this individual chooses to move forward with mediation. The lawyer can explain how mediation works. If an attorney believes mediation can be beneficial, they will explain their reasoning to their client.
We understand that you may be going through a difficult situation and we are ready to help however we can.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for My Civil Case in Michigan?
Hiring a lawyer helps boost your chances of getting the judgment you want in your civil case. The team at White Law PLLC has many years of experience in civil litigation. To schedule a free case consultation, contact us today.
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