The Civil Law Process
American justice principles are clear and quite straightforward. Theoretically, courts attempt to be inclusive and equal to every citizen.
In practice, though, civil trials can be complex and overwhelming to the layperson. Asbestos litigation trials are some of the most complicated torts in American legal history.
These civil law processes need the care and knowledge only an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can provide.
Mesothelioma law firms have access to vast resources, including case law precedents on previous asbestos litigation settlements and verdict decisions.
Asbestos attorneys are intricately familiar with each step of the civil litigation process and work with clients preparing them for a possibly long and tiring road.
Below, learn more about the legal steps a civil process takes.
Lawyers work with claimants to research the case history.
This research entails case evaluation establishing the plaintiff-suffered injury through wrongdoing by the defendant. Work and medical records support the claim, as well as common and expert witnesses.
It’s vital to establish the source of asbestos and prove the defendant was willfully or negligently responsible for exposing the complainant.
This stage triggers a civil action. Lawyers prepare a written complaint and file it in the court having case jurisdiction. A copy is served on the defendant after which they have a limited period to make a written response.
Intermediate motions usually attempt to have the matter dropped, but an experienced lawyer who properly prepares the complaint is ready.
Plaintiffs and defendants are allowed to discover what evidence each party has and test it before trial.
This is an important step and usually results in a negotiated settlement. Witnesses are deposed and cross-examined. Documents like medical evidence and employment verification are entered.
This transparent legal approach minimizes trial time and possible errors.
Less than 5% of asbestos civil lawsuits go through a formal trial.
This procedure has no guarantees, and it’s risky for both parties, regardless if they choose a jury to hear the case or elect for a lone judge sitting on a bench trial.
Once a verdict is reached, it’s binding.
A defendant may be found not liable, and the case is dismissed leaving the plaintiff without compensation. Alternatively, the verdict may favor the plaintiff and force the defendant to pay the prescribed compensation as well as accept the liability finding.
Whoever loses a civil trial is entitled to apply to a higher court for a case review or appeal. Appellate courts don’t automatically accept appeals.
The applicant must demonstrate there was a trial error in procedure rather than in interpreting facts.