Civil Litigation: FAQ

What is civil and commercial litigation?

Civil litigation occurs in civil law courts. Commercial litigation is a subsection of civil litigation and involves business disputes, such as contract disputes and employment disputes. Our litigation team can help you in both civil and/or commercial matters.

What are the stages of litigation?

A lawsuit begins when a party (the Plaintiff) files a complaint with the court. The complaint identifies the claims that the Plaintiff is alleging. The party who has been accused of the legal wrongdoing (the Defendant) then files an answer (or other response, such as a motion to dismiss). The lawsuit then enters the discovery phase where both Plaintiff and Defendant collect information that they will use at trial to support their side. If the case does not settle, it will then go to trial. At the end of the trial, a judgment will be entered. The prevailing party may then seek to enforce the judgment, or the defeated party may appeal the judgment.

Is there a deadline for filing a lawsuit?

Yes. The law sets statutes of limitations for filing a complaint. The time in which you may file a complaint depends on the type of action you are pursuing (breach of contract, professional negligence, wrongful death, etc.)

I’ve been sued. What do I do?

If you have been properly served, it is important that you answer or otherwise defend against the complaint. The rules for answering or otherwise responding depend on if you are in district or county court. County court has a jurisdictional maximum of $15,000.00. An attorney can help you before or after you file your answer. We certainly recommend hiring an attorney as quickly as possible so that the attorney can file the answer. If you cannot for some reason do this, the Instructions for answering a county court complaint can be found here (form 96). If your case is in district court, some guidance is provided here: Some guidance regarding cases of more than $15,000.00 here. If you have been served with a complaint, contact an experienced Colorado litigation attorney immediately. A defendant has a limited time in which to file a response to the lawsuit. The way in which a defendant responds to a lawsuit will have a significant impact on the case. You have many options and it is best to explore them early.

Will my case go to trial?

Many civil litigation cases do not go to trial. They may either be dismissed by the Court or a settlement agreement may be reached.

Can I try to enforce my rights without suing?

Yes. Our Civil Litigation team offers pre-lawsuit consultations where we explore other alternatives to litigation with our clients.