Civil court trials are very different from criminal trials in that criminal trials involve a prosecuting attorney and a defendant. However, civil court trials involve both a defendant and a plaintiff. The plaintiff is the one that is filing the lawsuit, while the defendant is the one that the lawsuit is filed against. Plaintiffs can seek non-monetary or monetary compensation in their lawsuit. A non-monetary remedy would be a court order stopping the defendant from doing something.
What are Civil Court Trials?
In civil court trials, the plaintiff accuses the defendant of performing specific actions or perhaps a failure to fulfill a specific duty, which caused damages or some sort of harm to the plaintiff. Plaintiffs can bring civil lawsuits to a state or even a federal court, depending on whether the lawsuit involved a violation of federal or state law, or the United States Constitution.
What is the Process of a Civil Court Trial?
In a civil court trial, the plaintiff is given the chance to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the defendant is at fault. The defendant is given a chance to defend his/her actions or inactions which can include evidence that refutes the claims of the plaintiff. Civil court trials involve several different phases including:
- Jury selection
- Opening statements
- Closing arguments
- Jury instruction
- Jury deliberation
Who are the Participants in a Civil Trial?
A civil court trial includes the plaintiff and the defendant, of course. However, these types of trials also include several other parties. A judge presides over the civil court trial and passes down rulings based on the law. A jury is present to listen to the evidence as it is presented and then deliberates to come up with a decision at the end of the trial based on the evidence. Finally, a court reporter is present to keep a record of what is said by the judge, the attorneys, and witnesses using a stenograph.
When it comes to civil trials, it is only required that the plaintiff proves the legal responsibility of the defendant through a preponderance of evidence.