A civil lawsuit is any court case that is not a criminal case, according to MassLegalHelp.org, and the most common forms of civil suits include libel, slander, personal injury and breach of contract. It is possible to resolve a large portion of civil suits without going to trial.
There are two main purposes of civil lawsuits, according to EnlightenMe. The first of these is an attempt to receive monetary compensation from another party or business, and the second is to uphold a specific action from a previous legal contract. There is no prosecution involved in civil suits. Instead, the damaged party receives reparations.
Cases that involve a small value do not become a civil lawsuit. Instead, small claims courts handle these cases, according to MassLegalHelp.org.
When a civil case goes to court, which only happens in a small percentage of cases, a trial with six main phases occurs. The first stage is jury selection, which allows both the plaintiff and defendant to remove any potentially inept jurors, according to FindLaw. Next, both parties present opening statements to the jury. After this, witness testimony and cross-examination occurs, followed by closing statements. The final two phases are jury instruction and deliberation.