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. Our experienced litigation attorneys can help you if you or your business is being threatened with a lawsuit or is being sued.

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?

It is important to note that the “summons and complaint” may not have a case number yet. This does not mean that you can ignore the summons and complaint. If it is signed by an attorney, it is possible that it does not yet have a case number. It is best to contact an attorney to discuss the situation, however, we have seen people fooled by this and it is sometimes not pretty.

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.

NEW: WE OFFER A SERVICE THAT PROVIDES YOU AN ANSWER TO A COUNTY COURT LAWSUIT THAT YOU CAN FILE PRO SE (ON YOUR OWN)! Click here for information on Information on County Court Suits and Answering the complaint (lawsuit) against you.

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. It is often in both parties interests to arrive at an (mostly) amicable resolution to the case before additional resources are spent pursuing a trial.

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.

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