Civil Litigation Attorney in California

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 What Is a California Civil Litigation Attorney?

A civil litigation attorney in California is an attorney who prepares civil cases for trial in a civil court. “Litigation” is the legal process of filing and prosecuting or defending civil lawsuits. A “litigator” is an attorney whose professional work is to represent clients who have cases in litigation.

This is a specific type of attorney who is hired by a client to either pursue or defend a civil lawsuit. A civil law attorney may practice in any of the following fields of law:

There are other specialties as well. For example, given the rise of real estate development in common owner communities, such as homeowners’ and condominium associations, lawyers may practice in the law of common ownership communities. Or a personal injury lawyer may litigate only in medical malpractice or defamation. Within the area of employment law, lawyers may practice in workers’ compensation.

Civil laws should be distinguished from criminal laws. Our system of criminal justice deals with crimes as defined in state and federal laws and the system of law enforcement that identifies perpetrators and brings them to justice in criminal courts. State and federal prosecutors are employees of state and federal governments. They work through the criminal courts to try perpetrators and sentence them to punishment if they are convicted.

Civil law is intended to address behavior that causes some sort of injury, either to an individual or some other party. The injury may be to economic interests or to a person or their property. This is done mostly through private lawsuits. When one party to a lawsuit is determined to be liable for conduct that causes injury to another, the consequences generally consist of monetary awards or injunctions. Other forms of relief are also available in some cases.

There is some overlap in that some civil wrongs, “torts” in legal terminology, are the same as certain crimes. For example, assault is both a crime and a civil wrong. A person who commits an assault can be prosecuted in a criminal court and sued for compensatory damages in a civil court as well. This is true of other torts as well.

When to Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

There are many occasions when a person or business would want to hire a civil litigation attorney. Of course, when a person or business is sued and named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit, they need to consult a civil attorney.

In many cases, a person or business has some kind of insurance that provides them with legal representation in the event they are sued. For example, a person may be involved in a car accident and sued by one of the other drivers involved. If so, they would turn to their automobile insurance provider. Their insurance company should provide legal representation to defend the person in the lawsuit.

A healthcare professional, a lawyer, or an engineer could be sued for malpractice. In that case, they hopefully have malpractice insurance coverage that would provide them with a lawyer to defend them and coverage for the payment of damages up to the stated limits of the policy. If a person is sued in connection with an injury that someone sustained in their home, they will turn to their homeowners’ insurance provider for a defense.

If a person sustains injuries and/or property damage because of another’s negligence, they would need to hire their own attorney to sue the negligent party on their behalf. They might start by consulting a local California attorney.

Another example of civil litigation would be a products liability lawsuit. Product liability cases often involve complex legal issues and can result in large awards of damages. A civil litigation attorney who has experience with product liability issues would be able to help defend a business being sued for defective products or improper warning labels. Or, the civil litigation attorney could help private individuals sue a business based on these same claims.

Yet another type of civil litigation is child custody disputes. A civil litigation attorney can protect a parent’s rights with respect to their child and ensure that a parent is not completely cut off from seeing their child. In cases involving child or domestic abuse, a civil litigation lawyer who focuses on family law would be able to help a non-abusive parent gain sole custody of their child.

In terms of business law, a civil attorney may also be the best option when a business is involved in a real estate transaction. An example of this would be acquiring another business or purchasing a piece of property. A civil attorney can negotiate with a landlord or the opposing counsel on behalf of their client.

Of course, this is not litigation. Litigation involves lawsuits and the potential for a trial. Most litigators do not handle cases that involve transactions only. A civil litigation attorney steps in when a dispute develops that leads to a lawsuit.

When a person has been sued or needs to sue to obtain relief for harm done to them, they want to hire a civil litigation attorney.

What to Expect from Your Civil Litigation Attorney?

If a person hires a civil litigation attorney, they can expect their attorney to handle all the phases of their lawsuit. If a person is a plaintiff who starts a lawsuit, the attorney would file a complaint in the right civil court and serve it on the defendant, the person who is sued.

If the person is the defendant in a lawsuit, their attorney files an answer, the formal response to a complaint. After the initial filings are done, the lawsuit proceeds to the discovery phase of litigation, in which lawyers work to identify and collect evidence to support their case. In addition, the lawyers may file various motions to achieve certain strategic advantages or defeat the opposing party.

Before a trial starts, there are efforts to settle the case, some of them sponsored by the court. It is usually to everyone’s advantage to settle a lawsuit before a trial because trials are expensive and time-consuming. In some cases, however, settlement cannot be achieved, and a trial must take place.

A civil trial may be trial by a jury, in which a jury makes the final decision, or it may be trial by a judge, in which a judge is the decision-maker. A lawyer would advise their client as to when they think it would be best to have a jury and when best to have a judge decide the case. Some states place limits on the availability of trial by jury.

How Much Does a Civil Litigation Attorney Cost?

Generally, civil litigation attorneys charge their clients in one of two ways. If the attorney is hired to represent a person who is a defendant in a lawsuit, they would charge the client an hourly fee. They might ask them to give them a retainer, or a lump sum, at the beginning of their representation so they could subtract their hourly fee on a monthly basis from the retainer.

The cost of civil suit lawyers varies greatly. Some charge more per hour than others. A lawyer might have a good reputation in a certain market and lots of experience in litigation. If so, they may well charge a higher hourly fee than another lawyer who may be new to the market and less experienced. If a person interviews a number of lawyers before choosing one, they will probably find that they do not all charge the same hourly fee.

A person should recognize that they have to pay their attorney a fee for their representation. In litigation, there are also expenses, and the client has to pay for them as well. For example, it is certain that in a lawsuit, there will be copying of documents and the client will be charged for this copying.

There is a fee to file a complaint, the document that starts a lawsuit, in the office of the clerk of the court. The client must pay this fee. Paying all costs and fees is the responsibility of the client.

If a client is the plaintiff in a lawsuit, the person who starts the litigation process may be charged a contingency fee. In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer is only paid if they are successful and win an award of damages for their client. If they do win the case, the attorney would subtract reimbursement for the costs of litigation from the award and then take a percentage as their fee. Of course, if the case is lost, the attorney receives nothing.

Often, if the case is won in the early stages of the action before there is a trial, the attorney might take between 30% and 40% of the fee after costs are subtracted. Often, if the case goes to trial, the attorney might take a higher percentage.

In any event, a person wants to make sure they clearly understand how to pay their lawyer. Preferably, any fee agreement should be in writing, and a person wants to review it and make sure they understand it.

Do You Need a Civil Litigation Attorney?

If you have been named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit in California, you want to consult a civil attorney in California. Even if you have insurance that will pay for your attorney, your attorney can determine whether you have the right kind of coverage and make arrangements with your insurance carrier.

If another person or company has harmed a person and needs to start a lawsuit, they also want to consult a civil litigation attorney who can help them determine the right kind of lawyer for their case.

In any event, can quickly connect a person to a qualified civil litigation attorney who can also help them decide what kind of lawyer they need for their issue. If the attorney consulted is not the right person for the job, they may be able to refer a person to another attorney who is.

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