The Basics of Civil Action Lawsuits

The Basics of Civil Action Lawsuits

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Civil action lawsuits are an important part of civil law. Filing a civil action lawsuit against a company in court is an attempt to not only receive compensation for their wrongdoings but it also puts the company in their place. They have to face up to their negligence and the harm they’ve caused.

Civil law refers to a system of law that revolves around personal disputes instead of criminal offenses. When a person or company wrongs you, civil law is there to defend your rights. However, there is a civil procedure to follow.

From small claims to criminal cases, we’re going to learn all about the basics of civil action lawsuits, from the requirements and legal advice for a winning trial to the different types of civil lawsuits that can be filed.

Different Types of Civil Action Lawsuits

When it comes to a civil case, there are so many types of lawsuits it can be confusing. Being able to determine which type of lawsuit you have will help you hire the perfect attorney.

Civil action lawsuits can include:

  • Antitrust: Antitrust violations are violations against laws created to protect against monopolization, price discrimination, and price fixing. Most of these lawsuits happen when people are forced to pay way too much for a product due to price fixing.
  • Consumer Fraud: Consumer fraud is when a consumer or customer is tricked out of their money. This can include products with defects, false advertising, or even violating consumer protection laws that are in place for companies. Product defect lawsuits are the main civil action lawsuits that take place.
  • Civil rights: Lawsuits regarding civil rights deal with the civil rights that every human deserves. These rights are protected by the Bill of Rights. So, when an entity violates the civil rights of several people, justice must be served. This runs from illegal searches by police to being discriminated against for your gender, skin color, or sexuality. There have also been several Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits too due to companies not making products accessible to those with disabilities or not making stores accessible to everyone.
  • Employment: Employment class action lawsuits fight against the mistreatment of employees by the businesses they work for. When multiple employees come forward about mistreatment in the workplace, they have a chance to implement change and better work practices in that company. These types of lawsuits can include discrimination, a hostile work environment, not being allowed to take breaks, not being paid, being expected to work off the clock, and sexual harassment.
  • Environmental: Environmental cases involve companies that let toxic substances into the environment. These actions cause havoc on communities and can affect the earth for decades. Environmental lawsuits against companies include chemical spills, oil spills, and contaminating water sources.
  • Medications and Medical: Pharmaceutical and medical companies release medications and medical devices that do more harm than good. In fact, there’s a lawsuit against the companies that created Cymbalta and Lyrica right now.
  • Privacy and Consumer Rights: Privacy and consumer rights lawsuits come up when a company has broken privacy laws. When purchasing products, companies gather personal information on a person. This can be your address or your credit card numbers. Some companies leak this information. A couple of examples of privacy and consumer rights lawsuits include data breach violations and Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act violations.
  • Securities Fraud: Securities fraud happens when someone cons money out of people under the guise of investment. These investments were made to the person while being fed false information about what they’re investing in. This can include investment fraud and stock fraud.

Prerequisites to a Civil Action Lawsuit

In order to file a civil complaint against a company and have the complaint classified by a judge, you need to prove four major elements. These elements help a judge decided if they should classify your civil complaint or dismiss your case.

Failing any of these factors can lead to being straight out denied. If you can’t cover these, you’d never have a chance in court anyway.

  • Numerosity: Despite what it seems, numerosity isn’t just about how many plaintiffs there are in a civil action lawsuit. Rather, it’s about how difficult it would be if each person filed an individual lawsuit.
  • Commonality: Commonality means you and the other potential plaintiffs have to find a common link or bond. You don’t want broad allegations against the defendant. You want to be as specific as possible about the link between you all.
  • Typicality: To prove typicality, you have to prove that the lead plaintiff has the same injuries or sickness that the others have. You represent everyone else that’s under the civil action lawsuit.
  • Adequacy: First, you have to prove you have adequate representations. So, you have to prove your lawyer is capable of representing your interests and that you can adequately represent the group. It also has to be determined that there’s no conflict between you and the others. You must all agree on the steps you want to take with the lawsuit.

Before filing you should remember to check out the rules of applying for a civil complaint. When bringing a lawsuit to federal court, you need to know the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Once a complaint is filed, you’ll have to fill out a summons form. A summons is a document that requests a response from the company and makes them aware of the lawsuit.

Even if your lawsuit moves forward, that doesn’t mean you’ll head to court. After several hearings, the defendant may offer you a settlement. It’s up to you and the others who were injured whether you accept that settlement or not.


There are a lot of aspects to a civil action lawsuit. These steps are required but climbing that mountain will be worth it once you reach the top. Companies must be held accountable for any wrongdoings.

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