Written by Alison Eustace, Lawyer
What is civil litigation you ask? Were you injured in a slip and fall? Did you sustain injuries when someone assaulted you? Has someone caused damage to your property?
These are a few examples of when civil litigation may be relevant to your life. In civil litigation, there are certain harms for which private parties may seek compensation from the party who caused the harm. The harm may have been caused intentionally, such as assault, or it may have been caused by a failure to take certain steps, such as a store owner leaving spilled oil on the floor where customers walk.
It may be helpful to know that civil litigation is different than criminal court. Its courts are governed by the BC Civil Rules of Court. In criminal court it is the Crown prosecutor who is taking the case to court. In civil litigation it is the wronged party, the Plaintiff, who is taking the case to court against the party who caused the harm, the Defendant. Although these days many cases settle before the case gets to trial it is extremely helpful to have a lawyer to represent you in a civil litigation matter.
Let’s use the slip and fall as an example of what is civil litigation. The Plaintiff is shopping in the grocery store when he slips and lands on the floor and seriously injures his back. The Plaintiff then sees that he slipped in a puddle of oil. The Plaintiff can sue the store owner for, among other things, the pain and/or compensation for missed employment income if he missed work due to the injury. The Defendant will want to defend the claim. She may argue that her employees had just done a sweep and the floor was clean at that time. She may argue that the Plaintiff had a bad back before he fell and therefore his pain is not her fault. The Defendant will also argue that the Plaintiff contributed to his own situation by not looking where he was going. The Court will consider all of the evidence and the legal arguments and decide if the Plaintiff is entitled to be compensated. The Court will also decide if the Plaintiff was also at fault, and if so, the compensation may be reduced.
If you think you have a claim, or if you are being sued, we may be able to help. Contact Alison to request a consultation for your civil litigation matter.
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