Whether you are suing someone, being sued, or being called as a witness, a lawsuit is a complicated legal process, and it can be full of unpleasant surprises and frustrating delays. Don’t forget, there are at least two parties to every action, and that means the schedule and the events which take place can be out of your hands. Nonetheless, some things happen in the same order in most litigation, and you can at least get a general idea of what’s likely to happen. It will also help to know some of the words and phrases that come up in a lawsuit.
The following chronology gives a general idea of how a Florida civil litigation lawsuit proceeds. Your action may be different because of differences between state laws and rules of civil procedure. Our attorney can help you understand exactly how your lawsuit will fit with this chronology.
Note: If you are being called as a witness rather than involved as a party, discovery is the first of the phases during which you may get involved. Typically, third parties are involved in depositions, although in many jurisdictions there are provisions for written discovery and document requests to nonparties. If you do not want to be involved in discovery as a third party, and have a legally valid reason (rather than, say, just not wanting to), you should consult an attorney.
Note: If a settlement is reached, the settlement agreement resolves all issues between the parties. Typically, the court is either not involved or is involved only informally. Judicial approval of civil settlements is usually only required when one of the parties is a minor, or when there is a class action, or in other special circumstances that do not typically arise in most litigation.
It’s hard to say how long all these steps will take in your case. The entire process can take from as little as six months, to as long as years. In the case of witnesses, you can be called to testify at any time from shortly after the event to the better part of a decade after it happened. Generally speaking, the less money at stake, and the more issues that can be resolved before trial, the smoother and faster the lawsuit will go.
Post Judgment Practice
Obtaining a judgment is only the last step of proving your case, but it is only the first step of collecting your judgment. Collection cases are very intricate and legal advice is needed to preserve your claim and effectively collect your money.
The Tancredo Law Firm has represented thousands of individuals in Florida Civil Law over the past 20 years.
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