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What Is the Meaning of Civil Litigation in Law?

January 17, 2024 | 7 min read

Civil litigation (handled by civil lawsuit lawyers) and criminal cases (handled by defense attorneys) differ significantly in purpose, scope, and consequence. Criminal law addresses offenses against the state or society at large and often involves jail time or other punitive measures. Civil law, on the other hand, revolves around disputes between individuals or entities, focusing on compensation for losses or injuries.

Some accidents involve both criminal charges and civil claims. While they may occur concurrently, criminal and civil cases—even when involving the same incident—are separate from one another and have no bearing on the other’s outcome.

When you are injured or a loved one is killed, the civil lawsuit lawyers at Burg Simpson Law Firm are here to help. Call our Denver office at 303-792-5595 to schedule a FREE and confidential consultation right away. We welcome clients from all areas of Colorado.

What Is Civil Litigation?

Civil litigation is the legal mechanism through which disputes are resolved within the framework of the civil justice system. Unlike criminal law, where the state prosecutes an individual for an offense against societal norms, civil litigation is primarily concerned with providing a lawful avenue for people to resolve disputes and obtain compensation for injuries suffered.

Key Characteristics of Civil Litigation

  • Party-Initiated. Unlike criminal cases that are initiated by the state or federal government, civil litigation is generally initiated by the aggrieved party (known as the plaintiff), who files a complaint against another party (known as the defendant).
  • Goal of Remedy. The principal objective of civil litigation is to offer a remedy to the plaintiff. This remedy can be in the form of monetary damages, property recovery, or a court order requiring the defendant to take or refrain from specific actions.
  • Trial and Settlement. Many civil cases are resolved through negotiations, arbitration, or mediation long before they reach a trial. If these methods do not lead to a resolution, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will decide the outcome.
  • Types of Courts. Civil cases can be heard in various courts, from small claims courts for minor disputes to federal courts for complex cases involving substantial amounts or federal statutes.

Civil litigation provides a structured environment where conflicting parties can resolve their issues respectfully and legally; however, these cases are seldom cut-and-dry. The civil lawsuit lawyers at Burg Simpson Law Firm have decades of combined experience handling these cases. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you FREE of cost and obligation to help you understand how best to proceed with your claim.

What Types of Cases Does a Civil Lawsuit Lawyer Handle?

Civil lawsuit lawyers specialize in a variety of legal matters that fall under the civil law umbrella. At Burg Simpson Law Firm, we are proud to handle civil cases involving:

Personal Injury

Personal injury is a relatively broad term that encompasses injuries sustained in nearly any type of accident. This can include:

Medical Malpractice

Medical negligence causes thousands of deaths and injuries every year. Our medical malpractice attorneys handle all types of healthcare negligence claims including:

Workers’ Compensation

Injured workers deserve compensation for on-the-job accidents. We assist all types of employees with workers’ compensation claims, including:

Business and Commercial Litigation

Financial injury is just as real as physical harm. The business and commercial litigation attorneys at our firm can assist with:

Depending on the firm, civil lawsuit lawyers may also assist with employment law, real estate and land use, trusts and estates, and other civil issues.

The team at Burg Simpson Law Firm has extensive experience in matters involving personal injury law, medical malpractice, workplace injury, class action lawsuits, business concerns, construction defects, and commercial litigation. If you need help, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you for a FREE consultation where we can listen to your story, discuss your rights, and help you decide how to move forward.

What Types of Damages Can I Seek in a Civil Lawsuit?

Damages a civil lawsuit lawyer can seek on your behalf include:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to provide compensation for the direct losses or costs incurred due to the defendant’s actions. These can include:

  • Medical Expenses. This covers the cost of medical treatment, medication, physical therapy, and any future medical costs associated with the injury.
  • Lost Wages. If you had to miss work due to the injury, you might be compensated for lost income. This may include future earning capacity if the injury leads to long-term disability.
  • Property Damage. In instances where personal property is damaged, the cost of repair or replacement is considered.
  • Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses. This can include transportation costs to medical appointments, home modifications, or hiring help for household duties.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are less tangible than economic damages. They are designed to compensate for the non-financial aspects of an injury or loss. These can include:

  • Pain and Suffering. This acknowledges the physical and emotional pain caused by the injury.
  • Emotional Distress. Sometimes, the emotional impact of an incident can be severe, leading to conditions like anxiety or depression.
  • Loss of Consortium. This refers to the negative impact the injury has had on your relationship with your spouse or family.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life. This can involve your inability to enjoy hobbies, recreational activities, or other aspects of life you enjoyed before the injury.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless, malicious, or egregiously negligent. The aim here is to punish the defendant and serve as a deterrent for similar behavior in the future.

Is There a Cap on Compensatory Damages in Colorado?

There is no cap placed on economic damages in Colorado. Victims are entitled to seek a dollar-for-dollar settlement for medical expenses, lost wages, and other quantifiable financial losses.

Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment are subject to limitations. In Colorado, this cap is adjusted for inflation every two years. It is, at the time of this writing, $642,180, but may be increased by the court to a maximum of $1,284,370.

Punitive damages in Colorado cannot exceed the total amount of compensatory (economic + non-economic) damages awarded (see Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-102).

Our attorneys leverage their extensive resources to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve within the limits set by Colorado statute.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Civil Lawsuit?

In Colorado, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years from the date of the incident (see Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102). However, there are exceptions and special circumstances to consider:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Three years from the date of the accident
  • Accidents Involving Minors: Two years after the age of 18, up to age 20

Colorado law provides a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, but there is also a “statute of repose.” This means that a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed after the initial two years have passed when specific circumstances apply, such as the discovery of a foreign object left in the body.

In some cases, the statute of limitations may be “tolled,” or paused, for other reasons. This can occur when the defendant is out of state, in hiding, or otherwise obstructing the process of justice. Additionally, in cases involving government entities, different time limits and procedures for filing a claim may apply.

Because the application of these statutes can be nuanced, it is important to consult with a qualified and experienced attorney to understand the specific limitations and exceptions that apply to your case. The legal professionals at Burg Simpson can guide you through this intricate landscape, helping you meet necessary deadlines and preserve your right to seek damages.

Why Choose the Civil Lawsuit Lawyers at Burg Simpson?

Burg Simpson Law Firm has been serving clients for over 45 years, making us one of the most seasoned law firms in the Colorado Front Range region. Our team of trial lawyers is supported by a strong support staff of paraprofessionals, investigators, and experts who collaborate closely to build a compelling case from the ground up, working to ensure that no detail is overlooked.

Good Lawyers. Changing Lives.®

Our attorneys are intimately familiar with the nuances of Colorado law and how it applies to different types of civil cases, from personal injury to business concerns and commercial litigation. This allows us to tailor our legal strategies to help you recover every penny you are due. Whether you are facing severe injuries, high medical bills, or time away from work due to someone else’s negligence, we fight to get you the compensation you need.

When people come to us, it is usually during the most difficult and harrowing times of their lives. We recognize this and are committed to guiding our clients through their legal journeys with honesty, compassion, and fierce determination. We place our clients at the heart of everything we do, ensuring that their needs and concerns are addressed promptly and effectively.

Contact Burg Simpson Law Firm For Your FREE Case Review

No matter if you are dealing with an injury, a business dispute, or another civil matter, Burg Simpson is here to help. Contact us online or call our Denver office to schedule your complimentary case review today. The civil lawsuit lawyers at Burg Simpson Law Firm serve all of Colorado.