What is a Lawsuit Lawyer?
A lawsuit lawyer, also known as a civil attorney or litigator, are lawyers that are hired by private individuals and entities to pursue a claim or to defend them in a civil lawsuit. In general, civil lawsuits typically attempt to address and resolve legal issues that affect people and organizations.
In fact, many civil lawsuits involve disputes between private individuals and businesses. Thus, lawsuit lawyers spend much of their time either arguing for or in defense of monetary damages on behalf of their clients. This is vastly different from the objectives of a criminal defense attorney.
To explain further, the United States legal system is generally divided between civil law and criminal law cases. Civil lawsuits look to provide a remedy to those who have been injured, whereas criminal cases aim to punish those who commit crimes. Therefore it is highly unlikely that you will receive a prison sentence in civil court.
However, civil lawsuits can result in having to pay hefty civil fines, monetary damages, and various other consequences that may be similar to the punishments issued in a criminal law case. Although in comparing the two, the penalties in a civil lawsuit are often less severe than those used in criminal cases. In addition, the burden of proof in civil lawsuits is much lower than the standard that must be met in criminal cases.
It is important to note that a person can both be sued in civil court as well as tried in criminal court. The two are not mutually exclusive. In the event that you are facing both a civil lawsuit and being tried on criminal charges, the criminal case will usually be heard first. This can be somewhat problematic for criminal defendants who are convicted in a criminal case since this might make it easier to prove they are liable in civil court due to the lower standard of proof.
Finally, civil lawsuits can involve a wide variety of legal claims, ranging from personal injury lawsuits to contract disputes. Some examples of the types of cases that a lawsuit lawyer may be hired for include the following:
- Medical malpractice claims;
- Trespass to chattels;
- Child custody disputes;
- Real property issues;
- Immigration law matters;
- Intellectual property infringements;
- Products liability lawsuits; and
- Many other kinds of lawsuits that often involve negligence.
Therefore, if you want to file a lawsuit or are involved in a dispute over a civil matter, you should contact a local lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible for further legal guidance.
What Types of Duties and Tasks Do Lawsuit Attorneys Perform?
Lawsuit attorneys are general practitioners, meaning that they usually have broad knowledge of many different fields of law. As discussed above, their cases can touch upon topics ranging from medical malpractice to intellectual property disputes. Having to work on such a broad range of legal issues across all these different kinds of civil lawsuits makes lawsuit attorneys well suited for handling an extensive range of various legal duties and tasks.
Some examples of the types of legal duties and tasks that lawsuit attorneys may perform include:
- Filing a claim or a counterclaim on behalf of their client;
- Drafting the requisite legal documents for a civil dispute;
- Negotiating contract terms or the conditions of a settlement agreement in a civil lawsuit;
- Communicating with governmental agencies or other companies on behalf of their client, such as the IRS or an insurance company;
- Representing their client in civil court, at meetings, or during different methods of alternative dispute resolution like arbitration and mediation;
- Gathering and collecting evidence to support their client’s claim;
- Interviewing other witnesses and parties involved in the lawsuit;
- Preparing for and conducting depositions to use as testimonial evidence;
- Hiring expert witnesses to testify about scientific, technical, or medical issues in the lawsuit that require special knowledge;
- Corresponding with the counsel of an opposing party;
- Developing a discovery plan and serving subsequent discovery requests on the opposing party in order to move forward with a trial or a settlement;
- Presenting the client’s case in front of a judge and/or jury; and
- In the event that a client loses, filing and managing different aspects of an appeal in civil court.
As may be evident from the above list, lawsuit lawyers can handle an exhaustive list of legal duties and tasks. This is why these types of lawyers are often employed by law firms with general litigation practices.
What Are Some Criteria for Selecting a Lawsuit Lawyer?
One of the main concerns that prospective clients have before hiring any type of attorney is how much it will cost. Thus, this is the number one factor that clients consider when selecting a lawsuit lawyer.
However, the cost of any lawyer also happens to be one of the most difficult things to determine before meeting with an individual attorney. This is because the cost of a lawsuit lawyer will be affected by an extensive list of factors, such as:
- The complexity of the legal issues that form the basis of a particular civil lawsuit;
- Whether the case involves one or multiple civil law issues;
- The area of law in which a civil lawsuit falls under;
- The difficulty and time it takes to resolve the entire case;
- Whether the case goes to trial and gets appealed or is settled out of court before trial;
- The fee structure that a law firm or an individual attorney uses to charge a client (e.g., at an hourly rate, a flat fee, or on a contingency fee basis);
- The level of experience, skills, or reputation of the specific lawsuit lawyer being hired to take on the case; and
- The location of the lawsuit or where the lawsuit lawyer practices (e.g., a lawsuit lawyer who practices in a city will likely be more expensive than one who practices in a rural area).
In addition to cost, individuals should also consider whether they would feel comfortable with the trial lawyer they decide to hire.
How Do You Know If You Need a Lawsuit Lawyer For Your Case?
As previously mentioned, a person can sue or be sued in civil court for countless reasons. Not all of the legal issues in a civil lawsuit will be so simple or straightforward. In fact, many businesses retain general in-house counsel for exactly this reason. Therefore, if you are involved in a civil law dispute, you should consider hiring a local civil attorney or lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible.
An attorney who has experience in handling civil law matters will be able to review your case and can determine if you have a viable claim. Your attorney can help you to collect evidence to support and build your case. Your attorney can also assist you in drafting legal documents and filing them in the appropriate civil law court.
In addition, your attorney can provide important legal advice about the issues in your case and can explain your rights under the relevant laws. Your attorney can also recommend different options of legal recourse to pursue as well as can tell you about the various remedies associated with each of those options.
Lastly, and most importantly, your lawyer can provide legal representation on your behalf in civil court or during negotiations for a settlement arrangement. Given the extent of legal services that a lawsuit lawyer can offer, it would certainly be in your best interest to speak with one about your particular civil law claim.
On a final note, if the reason you have not yet hired one is because you do not know where to begin your search, you should consider using LegalMatch’s services to connect you with a qualified civil attorney who practices in your area.