April 22, 2024

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Do You Know the 4 Ways to Obtain a Judgment in Civil Court?

Judgment in Civil Court


Across the country, civil courts hear disputes between plaintiffs and defendants where no criminal activity is suspected. Civil litigation often results in a judgment being rendered in favor of one party and against the other. But like criminal cases, civil cases can be dismissed as well. There is never a guarantee any sort of judgment will be rendered.

According to the experts at Judgment Collectors, a specialized judgment collection agency in Arizona, judgments do not necessarily have to be the result of an actual trial. There are multiple ways to obtain judgments.

In fact, there are four ways. Do you know what they are?

1. Bench or Jury Trial

When most people think of court, they think of jury trials. It is just the product of so many TV shows and movies. In terms of civil litigation, judgments can be obtained through both bench and jury trials. Most do not go either route, but they can.

A bench trial is one that is heard exclusively by a judge; no jury is involved. The judge hears the evidence and renders a decision on their own. A jury trial obviously involves juries of between 6 and 12 panelists.

2. The Summary Judgment

A summary judgment is one issued by a court without either a bench or jury trial. There is still some dispute between the two parties, but all the evidence can be addressed without having to go to a full trial. Summary judgments are rendered by courts in a process that seems more administrative than anything else.

It is not uncommon for potential defendants to ask for summary judgment in order to avoid having to live with the threat of a lawsuit. Take a patent infringement case. The potential infringer may just want to get on with business. Seeking a summary judgment settles a potential dispute so that the threat of a lawsuit cannot be used to manipulate the alleged infringer.

3. A Settlement Between Parties

There are plenty of cases in which parties agree to some sort of settlement in order to avoid trial. The easiest of such cases are settled with no dispute between the two parties. They both agree on the facts of the case and the rights and responsibilities each have in relation to it.

Still other cases can be settled even though the two parties remain at odds. They still disagree over the facts of the case but, in order to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, they agree to work out some sort of compromise settlement. They more or less agree to disagree and go their separate ways.

4. The Default Judgment

Though default is not the norm, it still happens often enough to mention it here. A default judgment is entered by a court when the defendant in a case fails to cooperate. The defendant may never answer the original summons delivered to him. Alternatively, he may answer the summons but never show up in court or try to work out a settlement.

In essence, a default judgment declares the plaintiff the winner by default. It is a lot like a competitive sporting event. If one team fails to show up, it forfeits the match. The other team wins by default.

Civil judgments are often rendered following a bench or jury trial. But trials are not always necessary to obtain judgments. Plaintiffs can also obtain judgments through summary decisions, settlements, and default scenarios. Regardless of how a judgment is rendered, the party against whom it is rendered is bound by its legal obligations.