The sad reality of the world we live in is this – some entities want to take advantage of you. Those who feel as though they are above the law prey on the reluctance of the general public to take legal action. Not only is this costly for those being swindled out of money, time, work, or recompense, it makes it more difficult for honest people to run legitimate businesses. The hardest part of civil litigation is knowing where to start.
Small Claims vs. Civil Litigation
When a claim is for less than $5,000 and is made only for money and not for the performance of a service or the return of property, it can generally be handled in a small claims action. These cases are handled in District Court where the hearing is less formal and rules and procedures are simplified. A regular civil case may be necessary when you want to question the other side in a process called, “discovery”. During discovery, the defendant is questioned to provide you with certain information. Civil litigation worth more than $5,000, or where the prosecution wants to have a service performed or property returned requires more complex legal representation. Filing fees for small claims are lower than they are for a regular civil case, and the trial is normally set within 60 days of when the case is filed. For example, most landlord/tenant actions can be settled in small claims court within 60 days of filing, while torts (or claims) involving negligence that resulted in an injury would need to be handled as a regular civil case.
Is personal injury a civil litigation case?
Yes. Personal injury cases require regular civil litigation, as opposed to small claims, since they require the defendant to be questioned during discovery. The variety of laws in play when trying a personal injury case also require significant help from a qualified attorney. She will be able to help you find witnesses, prepare evidence, and submit exhibits that can prove your claim.
Where do I begin?
The first step in filing a civil claim is to seek the legal advice from a qualified attorney. Known for her tenacity and legal prowess, Jana L Ponczak is a Baltimore native who has successfully navigated the Maryland legal system in both District and Circuit courts. During consultation, Ms. Ponczak will discuss your case, advise you on how to proceed, and make sure you are either prepared to argue before small claims court or ready to file for another civil trial.