Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT DOES “LITIGATION” MEAN?
Litigation is the process of resolving a dispute through a court of law. Typically this means initiating a lawsuit through the filing of a Complaint with the Court and moving the case towards a final trial.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A LAWSUIT?
If you believe you may have cause to bring a legal action, it is extremely important that you know the statute of limitations for your claim. The statute of limitations is the period of time that you have to file a claim. If the statute of limitations has expired for your claim then your case will be dismissed. The statute of limitations are different for different types of claims, and in Arkansas generally range from 2 to 5 years.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR LITIGATING MY CASE?
Many people underestimate the work that goes into litigation. Hiring an attorney should make the process much easier and simpler. However, there are still going to be things that you will need to do, especially if you want to win your case. Your main obligation will generally be providing evidence and other documents in a timely manner. Your attorney will need this information to adequately prepare your case, and in the discovery process you may be required to provide the information to the opposing party. As you prepare for litigation, you should begin gathering and organizing your evidence to provide to your attorney as soon as possible.
WILL I HAVE TO TESTIFY IN COURT?
If you are involved in a civil lawsuit then you should be prepared to testify in Court. The parties in a case generally, though not always, will be called as witnesses during the course of a trial. Keep in mind, even if your own attorney does not have you testify, opposing parties have the right to call you to testify during the presentation of their case/defense.
HOW LONG WILL MY CASE TAKE TO BE RESOLVED?
Each case is different. Some cases can be resolved prior to any formal litigation. During the litigation process, though, the parties can continue settlement discussions and most cases settle without the need for a trial. If a case does go to trial, then it will typically take several months and in some cases even years to reach a final resolution.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SETTLE MY CASE?
A lawsuit can be resolved through a decision by either a judge or jury or by the agreement of the parties. When the parties reach an agreement to resolve the case it is called a settlement. Settling a case is often a favorable option because it allows the parties to determine the outcome without the risks of a trial, while also allowing each to limit the costs and expenses associated with a trial. Statistics have shown that only about 3% of civil cases go to trial. Meaning the remaining 97% are resolved either by settlement or dismissal of the claim.
HOW LONG WILL THE TRIAL FOR MY CASE LAST?
The length of the trial will depend on the complexity of the issues, the number of parties/witnesses, and whether it is a bench or a jury trial. For example, simple cases between two parties with relatively few facts in dispute can be tried in only a couple of hours or less. These cases are typically “bench trials” meaning that the outcome is determined by a judge rather than a jury. Jury trials typically take a minimum of several days to complete.