Most civil litigation cases follow the same basic process. That said, they are still complex cases. If you do not know the litigation process, you might feel overwhelmed. To better prepare yourself for your upcoming case, it is best to know the steps of this process.

Most of the steps occur in pre-trial. Completing these tasks ensures that you protect your rights during this process.


The pre-trial phase includes several steps, such as researching what happened, filing the lawsuit, notifying the defendant and allowing them time to respond. Each jurisdiction has its own court rules about what you must do during this phase to start a case properly.


In the discovery process, you gather the information the other side has that is critical to the case. This is critical for outlining your rebuttal of their argument.

Motions and requests

Before your trial, you may need to ask a judge for a request or motion. There are a variety of things you can ask for. The most common are:

  • Temporary orders
  • A motion for a continuance
  • A request for a jury
  • A request to amend a petition

Make sure you request any of these if you feel like they will help your case.

Ending without trial

Finally, you can petition the court to end your case without a trial. Generally, this includes nonsuit, settlement, dismissal, default judgment and summary judgment. Any of these will complete your case without you going to trial.

Once the judge decides on your case, it is still not over. You can modify, enforce or appeal your order. However, deadlines are critical to all these actions. Therefore, you must be adequately prepared to tackle the post-trial tasks.