Civil litigation refers to any non-criminal dispute between parties, whether the parties are individuals or business entities. The term includes contract disputes, fraudulent matters, agreements between heirs of a deceased individual, wrongful refusal by insurance companies to pay valid claims, violations of administrative regulations, defects in workmanship, or just about anything relating to disagreements that cannot be resolved outside of the courts.
Civil litigation can be very expensive but need not be if the attorneys proceed in good faith. The courts are structured in such a way to allow people with a smaller claim to get in and out of court faster than people who have larger claims for obvious reasons.
If your claim is $7,500 or less, you can go to small claims court and may not need an attorney to represent you.
If your claim is between $7,500 and $15,000, you can go to county court, which, while an attorney may be advisable, can be handled expeditiously and in many cases, inexpensively.
If your claim is above $15,000, you must file in district court, in which case you have two alternatives. If your claim is in the $15,000 – $40,000 range, you may choose to proceed under what is known as Rule 16.1, a simplified process which limits the discovery which the parties engage in. Discovery involves written interrogatories, request for admission, request for production of documents, and depositions and can become quite expensive if numerous parties are involved and if the case is complex.
If the claim is substantial, it may be necessary to proceed under Rule 16 which does not have the limitations of Rule 16.1 This means that the parties can, within reason, engage in multiple discovery processes including depositions. Furthermore, expenses can be substantial if experts, such as engineers, physicians, hand-writing experts, are retained and ultimately are deposed.
Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. attorneys carefully analyze a case before taking it to court, in order to make an intelligent decision on where to file the suit that is in the best interest of the client. If attorneys on both sides of a case act with professional responsibility, the cost of litigation need not be astronomical. However, the complexities of a case does not necessarily mean that attorneys are not acting in good faith. Some cases simply require more time and expense, since attorneys, including ours, will always do their best to make sure the case is thoroughly investigated and handled appropriately.