Litigation Lawyers in Somerset County
In Somerset County, New Jersey, "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.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Somerset County, New Jersey reflect specific values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to advocate. So, the rules of civil procedure have the stated goal of ensuring that the justice system is fair, cost effective, efficient, and accessible to everyone who has a legitimate legal grievance.
Somerset County, New Jersey'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 Somerset County, New Jersey Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: In Somerset County, New Jersey 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: After the complaint has been filed in the Somerset County, New Jersey court of competent jurisdiction, the next major phase is the discovery process. In a civil lawsuit, there are not supposed to be any surprises (so the dramatic moments you see in TV trials are largely fiction). This predictability largely comes from the discovery process. Each side of the lawsuit has to disclose information relevant to the lawsuit to the other. This information can be acquired by sending the other side written questions, which must be answered under oath, demanding access to documents, and deposing witnesses.
Trial: it's truly very uncommon for lawsuits to go trial in Somerset County, New Jersey, because the rules of civil procedure in Somerset County, and nearly everywhere else, encourage speedy resolution of legal disputes, before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is largely accomplished by judges dismissing cases that clearly have no merit, or the parties settling out of court. However, when neither of these things is possible, both sides of the lawsuit will have to hash it out in a trial, which can be the most stressful and expensive step in the process. It involves both sides of the case presenting their evidence and arguments to a jury and judge, and letting them decide the issues.
How Can a Somerset County, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
If you are dealing with a lawsuit in Somerset County, New Jersey, it's almost certain that you will have to deal with issues concerning civil procedure.
The rules of civil procedure in Somerset County, New Jersey are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side, to help you through the process.