HOW DOES A CIVIL LAWSUIT GET STARTED?
To initiate a civil lawsuit, we file a petition with the clerk of court that states the facts of your case and your cause of action.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I FILE A COMPLAINT?
The defendant is served with your complaint and instructed on how to file an answer. We also conduct discovery — the legal process for investigating the facts of your case — to obtain important information and evidence from the defendant. We may file pre-trial motions and conduct several pre-trial hearings and depositions.
IS THERE A DEADLINE FOR FILING A LAWSUIT IN CIVIL COURT?
The law sets strict statutes of limitations for filing a complaint — the timeframe depends on the type of civil action. If you miss the deadline, you may permanently forfeit your right to pursue your legal remedies.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RESOLVE MY CIVIL LAWSUIT?
Some civil actions are resolved very quickly and others take years. Upon reviewing your individual circumstances, we give you our best estimate as to when we expect to resolve your disputes.
HOW CAN I MAKE THE DEFENDANT PROVIDE ME WITH THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION TO SUPPORT MY CLAIM?
You have the right to certain documents and information from the defendant. We serve subpoenas on the defendants that demand they produce specific items or explain to the court why they think the law does not require them to comply.
WILL MY CIVIL LAWSUIT GO TO TRIAL?
Many civil complaints settle before trial.
WHAY ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?
Mediation often saves the parties the costs of litigation, expedites resolution and gives the parties more control over the outcome of the case.
DO I HAVE TO PROVE MY CIVIL CLAIM BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT?
This standard is applied to criminal cases, not to civil actions. Your standard is lower, but depends on the type of case.
CAN THE CIVIL JUDGE IMPOSE JAIL TIME ON THE PERSON WHO INJURED ME OR ON THE COMPANY EXECUTIVE WHO STOLE MY MONEY?
A civil judge cannot impose criminal sanctions on the defendant as a result of your winning your case. However, these same defendants may be charged with a crime and be subject to incarceration or other criminal penalties if found guilty in criminal court.
AFTER WE WIN A JUDGEMENT, DO I AUTOMATICALLY GET PAID ON THE SPOT?
Unfortunately, you do not receive your money immediately. The defendants have a specific amount of time to pay the judgment. However, if the defendant avoids paying, we have several legal remedies available to us — including garnishing wages and placing liens on property.
Take the time on your own to learn about legal matters in Virginia. This should never be used as a substitute for the advice of experienced counsel; this education empowers you and can help frame your discussions with your attorney.
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