A lawsuit is a civil legal action brought to a court in which a plaintiff -- or the person suing -- demands money, property or any equitable remedy for loss or damages incurred as a result of the actions of a defendant -- the person being sued. As much as it may compel a party to take a certain course of action, a lawsuit may also prevent an act. This is one of the ways for opposing parties to resolve disputes. There are typically four different types of lawsuits.
Tort or Negligence
“Tort” is a legal term referring to damage, injury or any civil wrong committed intentionally, negligently or under conditions of strict liability, but does not involve breach of contract. Plaintiffs usually file tort actions for injuries resulting from negligence, unsafe or defective products, unsafe premises, and medical malpractice. Common tort actions concern automobile accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, elevator or escalator injuries, recreational facilities injuries, on-the-job injuries, and food poisoning.
A person files a private nuisance lawsuit when there is interference in a personal estate. This interference may come in the form of noises, smells or hazards that cross over property boundaries. Examples of typical private nuisance cases include a dog’s incessant barking, a garbage heap in the next yard or misconduct of a neighbor. Nuisance actions cannot refer to single or isolated incidents. The cause of complaint must be continuous.
Breach of Contract
This action involves any breach of contract. It can be a customer suing a supplier for defective goods, or a client filing a civil action against a contractor who failed to do his job. Any lawsuit that calls for a remedy for damages brought about by a party not satisfactorily fulfilling the terms of a contract falls under this lawsuit category.
Family division lawsuits concern divorce and other instances that involve matters of custody and support. They aim to settle disputes over alimony -- or “palimony” -- when the parties involved were not legally married, paternity, child support, visitation rights, guardianship and other matters typically pertaining to families.