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If a civil lawsuit is brought against me, what is the process of the suit up until it goes to trial ?

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

Is it he same process as in a criminal trial ? is it done by jury or judge ? What happens ?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The rules that apply to civil trials are different than the rules that apply to criminal trials. Depending on what court it is in, the rules may be different. Depending on what type of suit it is, the rules may be different. A very basic thumbnail sketch of the process is that you must file an answer or a motion to dismiss, if the suit proceeds, discovery is done, which means an investigation through court process, which may be written or by deposition, motions may be filed for a variety of things, and then there is a trial. Again depending on the type of case, the trial may be a jury trial or a bench trial. A bench trial is what a trial in front of a judge is called. If you have been sued, you should consult with an attorney.

Here is a link to the Florida Bar page with the various court rules:
http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBLegalRes.nsf/D64B801203BC919485256709006A561C/E1A89A0DC5248D1785256B2F006CCCEE?OpenDocument

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8 comments

Asker

Posted

Thanks for your response ! So far no suits have been brought against me. This was a car accident and my insurance company is currently dealing with this situation. If a suit is brought up against me for payment beyond my policy limits, I know my insurance company will assign a lawyer. What will this lawyer actually do for me ? Please advise !

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

The lawyer will probably try to settle your case within policy limits. This may or may not be a good thing. The lawyer assigned by the insurance company will represent the insurance company. If you feel that your interests are different than that of the insurance company, then you need to get your own attorney. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney when you are in a car accident, because the insurance company is primarily looking out for itself, not for you. This doesn't mean they will do you wrong, it just means that you would benefit from independent advice.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Also, since you were asking about criminal trials, if there was some criminal incident involved, there might be some reason why the insurance company would try to deny coverage. Based on what you're not saying, I would especially advise you to consult with an attorney, where you can speak more freely than it would be wise to do on this site.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Finally, if reasonable damages exceed the policy amount, you would definitely need your own attorney.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for your response ! I was falsely accused of a hit and run and criminal charges were dropped . I think it was because either the PO never filed or the state prosecutor, with the false report that was made, decided not to prosecute ! What is the likely hood of the insurance company filing a lawsuit against me ? Is it really worth it to them when the Police report clearly shows he was hit by another person ?

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Probably not. But if they do, now you know what to do:)

Asker

Posted

Thanks ! I appreciate your responses !

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

You're welcome. Have a good weekend.

Posted

Ms. Morcraft is correct. One other issue I think it is important to know is that if there is any indication that the other party was hurt and there is a likelihood that their damages will be more than your policy limits you should hire a lawyer to put pressure on your insurance company to get a release and settle your case.

Please be advised that answering your questions does not establish an attorney-client relationship with myself or my firm. We would be more than happy to set up a free consultation if you call us at 407-228-3838 and specifically mention AVVO or email me at bill@thelawman.net and put AVVO in the subject line.

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Posted

I agree with my coleagues. If this case stems from a criminal act, the state will seek restitution (ie ask you to pay damages to the other party.) If that happens, the other parties will not be allowed to collect twice.

Contact through this site alone does not establish a client lawyer relationship. This information is not to be used as a substitute for consulting with an attorney. I or any of the attorneys at longwelllawyers would be happy to give a free consultation. Call 407-426-5757. <p><a href="http://LongwellLawyers.com" target="_blank">Longwell Lawyers</a><br /> <a href="http://LongwellLawyers.com" target="_blank">Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys</a><br /> <a href="http://LongwellLawyers.com" target="_blank">Orlando Family Law Attorneys</a></p>

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6 comments

Asker

Posted

I was falsely accused of a hit and run. The victim was hit by another car and he blamed me for the accident. The Criminal citation was never entered into the docket or the state prosecutor decided not to file charges against me. Does this work into my favor against the potential civil suit ?

Asker

Posted

Bad things happen to good people !

Elmer Sanchez

Elmer Sanchez

Posted

There may still be time for the state to file charges, but for now, it is positive evidence for you. However the standard of proof is lower in civil court. Contact your insurance company for more help.

Asker

Posted

Why is the standard of proof lower in civil court if I did not commit this act ?

Elmer Sanchez

Elmer Sanchez

Posted

Much like the OJ Simpson case, he was not found guilty of the crime, but was found to be responsible in the civil case.

Asker

Posted

Yes I heard that before but, what if I have proof that I did not do this ? Doe s that have weight in a civil case ?

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