Your small business may have been served with legal papers over a business transaction or an employee issue, and you are trying to understand what you can expect when you get to court. While some companies settle their cases outside of court, other business owners take their cases all the way through civil litigation where they are met with discovery requests, cancelled and rescheduled depositions, trial preparation, and settlement discussions. While this may sound overwhelming, a skilled Austin civil litigation lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help you understand more about the stages of a civil lawsuit, which include:

  • Complaint. The first step begins when a plaintiff files a complaint with the court, and a copy of the lawsuit is served to the defendant.
  • Answer. In this second stage, the defendant answers the complaint by admitting or denying the allegations.
  • Discovery. The third step is when each side focuses on discovering information that will support its defense. This stage can involve interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for documents. If there is a lot of discoverable evidence, the case may take longer.
  • Motions. The fourth stage is when complete and timely responses to the discovery requests are not met by the plaintiff. The defendant can request a motion to dismiss the case. Also, a motion for summary judgment can be requested, which asks for a ruling on the case without going to trial.
  • Mediation. Generally, at some point before going to trial, both sides, along with their lawyers, may participate in mediation. This is where a trained mediator attempts to help both parties reach a settlement before going to trial.
  • Trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will move forward and go to court for a jury trial. The first part of trial is the jury selection, where each side can dismiss potential jurors. Next comes opening statements, and then evidence will be presented to the jury in the form of testimony by witnesses and experts. Once all evidence has been presented to the jury, lawyers will make closing statements, and the jury deliberates.
  • Judgment. This is the final stage of a civil lawsuit where a verdict is reached and concludes the case.

When you are slapped with a lawsuit, you should speak with an experienced Texas civil litigation lawyer who practices in the same area of law that the subject of your suit is in. For instance, if you are served with a citation for breach of contract, employment matters, or other business disputes, you need to contact a lawyer who handles general civil cases in Texas immediately so that your answer is filed in time and that your attorney has time to raise proper defenses.

The Posey Law Firm has an extensive understanding of the law and its process and can help you with your civil litigation issues. Call our Austin business litigation lawyers today toll free at 888-269-1962 or locally at 512-646-0828 to schedule a consultation.