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What is Civil Litigation?


Civil Litigation is the entire realm of law and legal proceedings that deals with legal disputes between individuals, organizations, or both. There are many types of such disputes, but they all fall under the civil litigation category because they are considered issues that affect mainly only the parties involved, usually in a financial manner. In these disputes the parties come before a judge and attempt to reach a resolution, and damages are often awarded. It differs in important ways from criminal litigation. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of civil litigation.

Difference Between Civil and Criminal Litigation

Then main difference between civil and criminal litigation is that civil litigation deals, as noted above, with legal issues concerning individuals and organizations, while criminal litigations deal with legal disputes between and individual or organization and society or the state. Criminal actions are seen to be threats the general safety and well being of society while actions that would give rise to a civil dispute mainly concern the individuals or organizations themselves and have relatively little affect on others. In addition, civil cases frequently focus on financial restitution rather than punishment for damages to physical well being, life, or property, though civil cases often involve the latter to some degree.

This all being the case, the penalties for violating criminal law are often harsher than those relating to civil law. Criminal penalties for instance may involve imprisonment or larger fines, while civil penalties usually only involve payment of monetary damages by one party in the dispute to the other.

Example of a Civil Litigation Case

The following is an example of civil litigation:

A car accident in which there is damage to a vehicle or a driver caused by the negligence or error of another party is common example of a civil litigation case. Assuming no one is determined to be criminally negligent, the court case centers on who was at fault in the accident and thus who should pay compensation. Insurance companies become involved in these cases as well, of course. The main character and nature of the litigation is to work out fair monetary compensations and determine the best distribution of financial responsibility for the occurrence.

If in the above example someone was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was driving in a very reckless manner, was seen to have an intent to cause harm with a vehicle, and so on, criminal prosecution could come into play. In other words, certain more exaggerated negligence or criminal intention on the part of a driver could be seen as a danger to the public at large and thus could become grounds for criminal litigation.

Thus some cases involve both a criminal and civil suit. These do not overlap, but are treated as separate cases with different priorities.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to serve as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only.

Legal advice consult

For legal advice consult, The White Plains Civil Litigation Lawyers can provide more information concerning Civil Litigation in Long Island.