Common Steps in a Civil Law Case

New York City Civil Litigation Attorney

Every civil law case is unique with each making their way through a series of steps. At the law office of M Daniel Bach, we have the expertise necessary to get you the legal counsel you need. If you are looking to pursue civil litigation against someone, then you need to consult with a lawyer first to understand the process of civil litigation. We will determine if you have a solid case and the best course of action to build your case. Contact us today to get started on your legal recourse.

Contact Bach Law

Our law office is located in New York City and we represent clients from across the greater NYC area in regard to civil litigation cases. The number for our office is 212-904-1900. When you call, we can listen to your case and provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation. On top of the work we do with civil litigation, we also handle traffic tickets, commercial leases and building violations among other services.

In the meantime, learn more about the common steps in a civil law case.


Once there is the decision to move forward with the case, the first step in investigating it. As your attorney, we will look into this case and dig into the details of it. Obtain any proof you might need and begin building the evidence for the case. How long this takes depends on a lot of different factors, but our work is always thorough.


The next step in the process is pleadings. This is where both parties involved file pleadings, which are the initial court documents that explain each side of the case. The plaintiff's pleading is called the complaint. This states the wrongdoing of the defendant, as well as what the plaintiff wants out of the civil case. The complaint is officially delivered to the defendant.

The Answer

The complain is "served" to the defendant. Then the defendant can create an official reply, which is called an answer. The answer is the defendant's stance on the accusations and allows the defendant to ask for further clarification regarding the parameters of the case.


When the court has both pleadings, then the act of discovery begins. The process of discovery includes in-depth legal research, document reviews, witness interviews, and other steps in an effort to determine as many facts about the case as possible. An attorney may call in expert witnesses in an effort to validate their arguments. Attorneys may use their help to testify once the case hits the courts.

During the discovery process, investigators or the attorney might examine the scene in question or simply request specific documentation and statements from the people involved int the case. The length of the discovery process can be time-consuming and is typically where an attorney spends most of his or her time. At our law office, we go above and beyond for all of our clients. Ensuring we are prepared to deliver the best case possible.


After both sides finish the discovery process, the case heads to pre-trial. A pre-trial is when the attorneys begin negotiations. Sometimes an agreement can be reached before heading to trial. This saves everyone the frustrations and costs of court. During the pre-trial stage, either party can use motions to ask the court to make a ruling or dismiss parts of the case before heading to trial.


If no agreement is reached during the pre-trial stage, then the case goes to trial. This trial may or may not involve a jury. It all depends on the circumstances of the case. Before the trial, the plaintiff and defendant will provide their briefs to the judge. These documents outline the arguments of each case, as well as showcases the evidence both parties have on hand. At the trial, each party has the option to make an opening statement, then pursue arguments and questioning, and have closing arguments. At this point, the judge and jury decide the verdict of the civil law case.


Those are the common steps for a civil law case, but not all stages are required. Many civil litigation cases are settled outside of the courts. And some are settled during the trial before a verdict is announced. The reason for this is the fact that it can take a while to complete the court process.

The ultimate goal of a settlement is typically to not go to court. Instead, the aim is to reach a settlement that both parties agree to. For most civil litigation cases, the settlement involves the winning party getting money from the losing party. However, it can also involve some action from the losing party that does not involve money.

The settlement of a civil case can happen at different stages. It can occur during negotiations or at the end of the trial. However, if the case does go to trial, then both parties only have a limited period of time to file an appeal if someone disagrees with the outcome.

Statute of Limitations

When it comes to civil litigation cases, the statute of limitations can come into play. Especially for those involving injury or malpractice. A statute of limitations is a time limit that requires cases to be filed within an appropriate amount of time. The statute of limitations varies from case to case, as well as from state to state. As an experienced law office, we will make sure we file within the guidelines. If a case is filed after the passing of the statute of limitations, then it will be dismissed no matter what.