Litigation is the process where two parties go to court to settle a non-criminal dispute. Litigation is not a lawsuit, but is the processes undertaken prior to, during, and after a lawsuit in court. Litigation begins from the moment that a person hires an attorney to represent them and their case. Litigation can include a case going to trial in court as well as when it is settled out of court through alternative methods such as mediation and dispute resolution. Litigation can also take place when someone is arrested for an out of state dispute and has to go to court to clear everything up.
The first step in a litigation case is for the aggrieved party to hire a litigation lawyer. Once a litigation attorney has been hired then the attorney will undertake a number of steps. This can include writing a letter to the other party demanding compensation. In some instances this compensation amount can be negotiated between the two parties and the dispute settled out of court.
Once a client has hired an attorney to represent them, then the attorney will begin the investigation period. The attorney needs to ensure that they have all of the facts and documents to prepare for the litigation. This is also the time when negotiation and mediation can occur between the two parties involved in the litigation. Parties that undergo out of court settlement mean that they save money on the costly act of going to court.
If a litigation case is to go to trial in the courts then a lawsuit needs to be filed. A lawsuit is filed by the plaintiff to the courts and the defendant is handed a notice of the impending court date. Once the lawsuit has been filed a period of discovery begin where the attorney for the plaintiff investigates as much as possible about the case. This can include interrogatories of the defendant and other key witnesses and sourcing as much documentation about the case as possible.
If both parties are still unable to come to an agreement or settlement out of court, then the case will go to trial. This is an expensive endevor and often a last resort if pre trial compensation negotiation between the parties does not work. The process of taking a litigation case to trial is a lengthy process that can take months or years. Even after a trial has finished litigation can continue. Post trial the party who lost may appeal the decision and ask for a retrial. There may also be more negotiations that take place regarding the money that the losing party has been ordered to pay in damages.