Litigation Lawyers in Bethlehem
"Civil procedure" in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is a very broad term, and it refers to the wide variety of rules that control how civil litigation is done. It is to be distinguished from substantive law, which controls the rights that civil litigation is meant to vindicate.
The rules of civil procedure in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania are designed to make the process of civil litigation as efficient, inexpensive, simple, and fair as possible.
Civil litigation in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is almost never a simple process. So, the rules controlling this process can't always be simple, either. Remember, civil procedure governs every single step of the civil litigation process, which can drag on for years.
Major Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The initial, and perhaps most significant, part of filing a lawsuit in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that's responsible for handling civil trials. It lists everything that the plaintiff (the person who is suing) alleges against the defendant (the person the plaintiff is suing). Normally, but not always, the end of the complaint will contain a "prayer for relief." The prayer for relief is just a statement of what the plaintiff is asking the court to do to remedy the harm that the defendant allegedly caused.
Answer: Once the complaint is filed, the ball is in the defendant's court, so to speak. In the answer, the defendant has an chance to respond to all of the factual allegations made by the plaintiff, normally by denying them. The defendant might also raise affirmative defenses, which could keep the defendant from being held liable. For instance, if the defendant is accused of battery, and he did, in fact, batter the plaintiff, he might admit to that fact, but claim that the plaintiff was the aggressor, and he acted purely in self-defense. If he can show that he acted in self-defense, he likely will not be held liable.
Discovery: After the complaint has been filed in the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania court of competent jurisdiction, the next important 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 received by sending the other side written questions, which must be answered under oath, demanding access to documents, and deposing witnesses.
Trial: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, it is really very rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in Bethlehem is designed to encourage early settlement of cases, or dismissal of cases that don't have any legal or factual merit. Nonetheless, in the rare cases when the case is not dismissed, and the parties can't reach a settlement, the matter will go to trial. A trial is the most visible aspect of civil litigation, and it is the stage when all of the legal and factual questions raised by both parties are resolved by a judge and jury, respectively.
How Can a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any considerable legal issue in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, you can be pretty much sure that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
The rules of civil procedure in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania are not always simple or intuitive. With that in mind, it's very important to have a seasoned attorney on your side, to help you through the process.