There are two broad types of law – civil and criminal law. Civil law falls under the category of law that pertains to wrongs against a person or against their property. Criminal law, on the other hand, deals with wrongs made against the society as a whole. Negligence, family disputes, personal injury cases and small claim lawsuits all fall under civil law.
Personal injury cases, e.g., automotive accident fall under the scope of civil law. Other litigation may be as a result of an allegation of negligence, e.g., when someone has a responsibility of maintaining their property to ensure other people are not hurt when they access the said property. Adoption cases, child custody cases and divorce cases all fall under the family law; thus civil litigation.
The other thing worth mentioning is there could be specific courts meant for specific types of civil law cases. A good example is a family law court often set aside to handle matters that touch on family issues. Another example is a small claims court set aside to handle matters to deal with small claim disputes.
In the US, a civil lawsuit proceeding will commence when a case is filed against another person for wrongdoing. Whoever files the lawsuit is referred to as the plaintiff and whoever is being sued is referred to as the defendant. Most plaintiffs work hand in hand with civil law attorneys to help ascertain the validity of case and help issue notice of complaint to the defendant.
It needs no mentioning the burden of proof often lies on the plaintiff to prove beyond reasonable doubt that their claims are valid. It is thus the responsibility of the plaintiff to find a competent lawyer that will help ensure they prove beyond any doubt they deserve to be heard. The other important fact you must understand is the plaintiff attorney will often take the stage first to present their evidence before the defendant’s attorney does the same.
Unless either party requests for a jury trial, results of most civil law cases will be determined and issued by a judge. In the event of a jury trial, the panel would be made up of between six and twelve attorneys who deliberate on the case privately to reach a decision. Most often, the decision of the members of the jury would be unanimous. The need, therefore, to work with experienced and competent civil law attorneys can never be overemphasized enough. Competence of an attorney is key when it comes to success in civil law cases.