How to Win a Civil Case

Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant in a civil lawsuit, here are some basic pointers that can help you win your case.

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Up next in How to Understand Legal Issues (19 videos)

Stay on the right side of the law, and learn how to navigate the legal system, with these videos.

You Will Need

  • Attorney
  • Evidence
  • Perseverance
  • Professional demeanor
  • Settlement
  • Lawyer of mediator
  • Knowledge of lawyer's fees (optional)
  • Knowledge of statute of limitations (options)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Gather evidence

    Answer all of your attorney's questions so that they can help you gather physical evidence such as signed and dated contracts, and witness statements. Whatever claims you make in the case need to be backed up by hard evidence, if possible.

  2. You can sue or be sued in civil court for failure to honor an agreement, which is called breach of contract, or for a wrongful act other than breach of contract, which is called a tort.

  3. Step 2

    Prepare

    Prepare the particulars of your case while being aware of precedent, or how judges typically decide which party wins cases like yours; and the burden of proof, that is, what you have to prove to win.

  4. Find out if there is a statute of limitations on cases like yours, and how long it is, so you won't delay filing past the deadline.

  5. Step 3

    Hope for a win

    Hope for a judgment in your favor if the case goes to trial.

  6. Step 4

    Keep going

    Stay on top of your case through the discovery process and questioning in depositions. Remember to keep your demeanor professional even when the process is frustrating.

  7. Ask about lawyer's fees up front to be sure they are fair and reasonable.

  8. Step 5

    Hire an attorney

    Hire an attorney who is experienced in handling cases like yours. You will most likely need a professional to guide you through and represent you in settlement talks or trials.

  9. Step 6

    Mediate or settle

    Hammer out a settlement through lawyers or mediators if there's a possibility that you likely lose in a trial, and to avoid a drawn out and expensive trial process.

  10. Step 7

    Start the process

    File your complaint with the court if you are the plaintiff. In civil cases this is commonly called an action.

  11. Step 8

    Discredit your opponent

    Anticipate your opponent's claims and disprove them with fact-based evidence, while portraying your actions in the events as reasonable and prudent.

  12. O.J. Simpson, was tried for the same offense twice -- he was prosecuted for murder in a criminal court and then tried for the same event as a wrongful death tort in a civil court.

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