The Definition of Pre-Litigation

By Elizabeth (Lisa)Thompson
Pre-litigation usually saves all parties time and money.

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Litigation is a lawsuit that is still pending or going through the court process. Pre-litigation begins even before the court process starts and attempts to resolve the case before it goes through court. Pre-litigation can include a financial settlement prior to taking a case, such as a malpractice case, to a jury.

Guidelines

The pre-litigation proceedings present an outline of the case for the panel to review, including all relevant evidence and testimony. Parties will need to answer any questions the panel poses without becoming overly emotional or confrontational. The panel will make a decision based on the information provided within the time frames allocated by the courts.

Involved Parties

A pre-litigation hearing involves a large number of people. First, the plaintiff contacts a lawyer. The lawyer involves his office personnel, such as investigators and expert witnesses. Police officers, emergency workers, therapists, medical or hospital workers and insurance adjusters can all testify regarding their involvement in the case.

Mediation

The pre-litigation process includes mediation to save time and money for all involved parties. An unbiased third party helps the plaintiff and defendant resolve their differences and reach an agreement, specifically financial. Some courts have a mediation department; in other cases, the judge may refer the parties to a mediator as part of the pre-litigation process. This quickly growing method of pre-litigation acts as a binding resolution in court.

Benefits

The main benefits of pre-litigation are privacy for the participants and financial savings. Confidentiality with a third party prevents discussion of any matters related to the case. Specific types of cases that benefit include employment cases, insurance cases, business disputes and a variety of civil disagreements. This saves not only direct costs, such as legal fees, expert witnesses and lost work hours, but reduces stress more quickly through quicker resolutions and shorter court times.

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