Lawsuits

See if someone you know has ever been sued.

What Is A Lawsuit? 

A lawsuit occurs when one party takes legal action by suing another in civil court. Usually, a person is sued because another person believes they caused them harm or wrongdoing. If the person being sued is found accountable, they will need to provide compensation, usually in the form of fines, to the person who charged them. 

Different Types of Lawsuits

  • Tort: When someone sues another for being negligent. Tort lawsuits could involve auto cases, product liability, and medical malpractice. 
  • Class Action Lawsuits: Also known as class action, representative actions, and class suit.  It occurs when a group of individuals file a lawsuit against a person who caused them harm or injury. 
  • Breach of Contract: This lawsuit occurs when one party fails to fulfil requirements laid out in an agreement or contract. For example, someone could sue another if they weren’t paid the full amount for services hired for. 
  • Personal Injury: When someone gets harmed or injured and another person is legally responsible for what occurred. If found responsible, they may have to agree to pay for medical expenses and pain and suffering. 

Who Is The Plaintiff and Defendant In A Lawsuit? 

A plaintiff in a lawsuit is the person who sues the defendant (the person being held responsible). To prove their case, they need to provide a “burden of proof” aka evidence to support their case. A defendant is the person who the lawsuit is being brought against. They are accused by the plaintiff of causing them harm.

What To Do If Someone Files A Lawsuit Against You? 

  1. Look At Your Deadline: Ignoring a lawsuit brought against you is not the way to go, even if you believe it’s false. Make sure to note the deadline you must meet. 
  2. Choose Your Course Of Action: There are multiple ways to respond to a lawsuit. You could file your response to the lawsuit allegations, negotiate a resolution with the plaintiff, sue the plaintiff (counterclaim), or file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. 
  3. Come Up With Your Response: Your response will depend on what you’re being sued for. If you need assistance, you should hire a lawyer. 
  4. File Your Response: You will need to file your response with your local court. Fees are usually required upon filing. 
  5. Give Your Response To The Plaintiff: It is necessary to provide the plaintiff with a copy of your response. 
  6. Go To Court: If you decide not to settle with the plaintiff, you will have to go to civil court and go through a hearing and trial. 

How Long Do Lawsuits Last? 

Lawsuits are typically long due to the process that the plaintiff and defendant must go through. First, the plaintiff must file and serve the defendant with lawsuit papers which can take about 120 days (4 months). Then, the defendant usually has a few weeks to a month to provide a response to the lawsuit. After this, if the defendant decides not to settle, then things are taken to court. The court process could take years to complete. 

View our other Glossary Terms here

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.