The Pre-Litigation Process For A Civil Dispute

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

There are usually several steps taken during a civil dispute before litigation is considered an option. The pre-litigation process helps both parties prepare for a lawsuit. This formal process also opens up opportunities to settle the dispute with the guidance of an attorney, without the need to go to court. During the pre-litigation process, the attorney sends a formal notification of the dispute, an investigation is conducted, and some form of demand is made. The final step in the pre-litigation process is trying to settle the civil dispute before it goes to court.

Formal notification for a civil dispute

When one party has a dispute with another party, the first step in the pre-litigation process is formal notification by an attorney. The pre-litigation notice often comes in the form of a letter sent by the injured party’s attorney to the other party’s attorney and insurance company. The pre-litigation notice outlines what the dispute is about, and may also request information on insurance coverage, policy limits, and related information. This type of pre-litigation letter starts the standard protocol of informing the other party’s attorney and beginning the investigation process.

Investigation of a civil dispute

Before going to court, a civil dispute attorney needs to know all pertinent information surrounding a case. The pre-litigation investigation process is where the attorney gathers all of the important and required information. Facts and documents gathered by the attorney are the most important pieces of information when it comes to an investigation. The attorney will get copies of medical records, insurance claims, employment records, and any other record that pertains to the case. The attorney will also want to talk with witnesses and get statements from each one.

Demand from a civil dispute

Once the investigation is done, the next step in the pre-litigation process is for the injured party to send a demand to the other party. This formal, pre-litigation demand can take several forms. One formal demand can be a claim that goes to the other party’s insurance company. Another pre-litigation demand may be a letter going straight to the other party demanding compensation for the injury. The pre-litigation demand may be a simple letter or it may be a multi-page document with copies of the information gathered by the attorney during the investigation.

Trying to settle a civil dispute

A formal demand usually brings an opportunity to settle the civil dispute before going to court. In many cases, these civil dispute settlements are informal, involving discussions between each party’s attorney, insurance representative, and client. This part of the pre-litigation process may be a time when one party makes a settlement offer, counter offer or settlement rejection. More formal dispute resolution solutions are also available, including mediation. During a mediation, a neutral third party works with the injured party and the defendant to reach a negotiated settlement before litigation occurs.

If a civil dispute cannot be settled, the next step is to file a formal lawsuit. If you are in need of litigation attorney in a civil dispute, contact us here at Brown & Fortunato, at (806) 345-6300 or connect with us on our Contact Us page. Our website offers a full review of our other practice areas. Feel free to visit our law offices at 905 S. Fillmore, Suite 400, Amarillo, Texas.

This information is subject to change. Please check for updates that are more recent than the published date of this article.