Litigation Lawyers in Smithfield
In Smithfield, North Carolina, "civil procedure" is a broad term that refers to all of the laws that regulate the process of civil litigation. Procedural law (such as civil procedure) is distinguished from substantive law, which regulates the rights and obligations that the civil justice system is designed to protect.
In Smithfield, North Carolina, the civil procedure rules are meant to ensure that the civil litigation system is as efficient, accessible, fair, and inexpensive as possible.
Smithfield, North Carolina's civil procedure rules can get pretty intricate, however. They regulate every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Smithfield, North Carolina Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In Smithfield, North Carolina the first step in suing somebody (after speaking with a lawyer to determine if you have a case) is typically filing a complaint. The complaint is also one of the most important documents in the civil litigation process. By laying out the wrongs that the plaintiff alleges the defendant has committed, as well as the remedies that the plaintiff wants the court to provide, it can set the tone for the entire rest of the case.
Answer: For the defendant, the answer is typically the first document they file in a lawsuit. As the name suggests, it "answers" the plaintiff's complaint. The answer normally denies most, or all, of the allegations made by the plaintiff. If the allegations are factually correct, and the defendant knows this, the defendant might admit that the allegations are true, but because of extenuating circumstances, they should not be held liable. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that they did strike the plaintiff, but claim that they were acting in self-defense, which would negate or weaken the plaintiff's case.
Discovery: Once the complaint and answer have been filed in a Smithfield, North Carolina court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the process in which both sides of the lawsuit are required to disclose required evidence to one another. The lawyers for each side can submit written questions, which the other party is required to answer under oath, unless the information is privileged. Each side can also request any relevant documents, physical evidence, and can conduct depositions of witnesses and parties to the lawsuit.
Trial: In Smithfield, North Carolina, it's truly extremely rare for civil lawsuits to go to trial. Of all the lawsuits that are filed, only a tiny minority make it to trial. The majority are either dismissed, or settled. This is by design: the civil procedure rules in Smithfield are specifically meant to encourage early resolution of legal disputes, without resorting to a costly and time-consuming trial. However, when a case does go to trial, it is for the purpose of a jury resolving all of the factual disputes between the parties. Each side will present evidence obtained through the discovery process, call witnesses, and make arguments on behalf of their position. Once the jury reaches a verdict (a finding of fact), the judge enters a judgment on the verdict.
How Can a Smithfield, North Carolina Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any substantial legal issue in Smithfield, North Carolina, you can be pretty much certain that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
Civil Procedure in Smithfield, North Carolina can be pretty intricate. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer who can advise you on how best to deal with these civil procedure issues.