How Long Does a Civil Rights Case Take?
Every citizen in a country has the right to get freedom and social justice. However, racial inequities, slavery, and several other issues cause violation of the laws regarding civil rights. Thus, civil rights are intended to ensure equality in race, disability, religion, age, and other characteristics. You may be a victim of discrimination and unfair treatment in different settings like employment, housing, education, and public accommodations. In this case, you have to file a civil lawsuit and hire one of the best civil rights attorneys in Virginia. But, how long does a civil lawsuit take? It is the biggest question of those who have filed a civil lawsuit.
Before discussing this question, it is important to learn how civil rights differ from civil liberties. Civil rights refer to the concept of maintaining equality from the perspectives of disability, gender, and race. On the contrary, civil liberties refer to broad-based rights, and the Constitution has guaranteed them. They include the right to free speech, vote, and privacy.
How long do civil cases last?
The overall duration of the civil trial can vary with several factors-
- The major problem and basic detail of the lawsuit
- Complication level of your claims
- Steps taken by the rival party
- The stage up to which the civil claim is resolved
The major trial process in the Federal court involves a few days. However, it takes some weeks to prepare the case and go through the pre-trial process. In complicated cases, both parties present witnesses and technical evidence. But, the trial procedures cover a long period. The jury will also take time to reach the verdict. So, how long does the civil court take? There are several variables to decide on it.
When you have appealed the court for the case, the process will take longer. You may find different civil claims, and in some cases, you will need to approach higher courts to resolve issues.
For the stronger cases, you have to provide more substantial evidence. It will help in solving the case within a shorter period. As a settlement is the fastest option for resolving the case, the legal professional will help with negotiation.
Average timeline for the civil case
The most important thing is to hire the right attorney to protect your civil rights. Still, these cases need 2 to 3 years to get to the court trial. Although you have appealed the case before trial, there is a risk of delay. The major steps for taking your civil court case to the law court are-
- Investigating and preparing for the lawsuit- It covers 1 to 3 months.
- Litigation and initial filing- These processes cover almost 3 to 4 months.
- You need to wait 4 months to 1 year to let the court deal with the legal issues related to the dispute.
- The step for discovery is about collecting the proof from different third parties. Witnesses and third parties will respond to in-person queries and written questions. The overall duration can cover 6 to 9 months.
- Summary judgment is another step that covers 6 to 12 months.
- Trial preparation can last 2 to 3 months.
You must choose alternatives to litigation to save time and cost. However, they do not always resolve your dispute. You have to implement the alternative method at the right time to get a solution.
A fair settlement offer is the easiest and most cost-effective option, and you can settle the case outside the law court. Several civil cases have been settled before reaching the court trial. The involved parties discuss settlement anytime during the litigation. However, they can also request the assistance of the court.
Negotiating a settlement without others’ help is another option. Still, in most cases, it is essential to engage a neutral third party (mediator).
The major role of the mediator is to help parties in reaching a settlement. The concerned parties have to choose the mediator and consult him privately. The mediator will learn about every detail of the case.
He will detect the potential risks of the civil case and encourage you to reach your goals by avoiding the risks.
A professional arbitrator is a neutral third party resolving your dispute. During the arbitration process, you have to present your strong evidence and argue your case. The arbitrator will then decide on the party who will win the case.
The arbitration process is less formal, and it is about the private agreement. You can choose this process for smaller disputes. Parties that have settled disputes using arbitration cannot appeal to their arbitrators to rule a court.
How to know that it is reasonable to have the settlement offer
More than 97% of civil rights cases settle before reaching the trial process. There are several reasons for it. During the discovery process, one of the parties will learn something which affects the strength of its claims. Moreover, the party may like to get compensation without waiting more than 2 years. Furthermore, the results of the trial cannot be predictable.
To check the settlement offer, you need to have both objective and subjective perspectives.
Your lawyer would focus on the amount to be recovered at trial. They will analyze how much amount you will get back. For instance, in case of damages of $50,000, your lawyer thinks that there is a 50% chance of winning the amount.
The issues related to your case, availability of your attorney, and the court schedule- everything makes a difference in the duration of the civil lawsuit. Scheduling and timing will be different in the case of Federal and state-level courts. The law court will set the trial dates. Before the trial process, every party has to provide the judge with a document. It outlines the evidence and arguments used at the trial.
The bench trials will not involve a jury, as the judge will make the decision. Thus, look for an attorney who deals with civil rights lawsuits. During the initial consultations, you can discuss your case and let him know every detail.