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A Simple Guide to Civil Law, the essentials you need to understand it.

Posted by Joshua Tisdale | Dec 02, 2022 | 0 Comments

The United States established two areas of law with the primary objective of preventing or penalizing severe crime and compensating victims of such offenses; these are Civil and Criminal Law.

  1. Civil law is concerned with action that causes harm to an individual or another private entity, such as a company. Libel and slander defamation, breach of contract, recklessness resulting in injury or death, and destruction of property are a few examples.
  2. Criminal law addresses actions that may be viewed as a crime against the general public, society, or state—even if the direct victim is an individual. Homicide, violence, robbery, and drunk driving are some examples.

People frequently confuse them and believe they are the same; however, several characteristics separate one from the other. The following differences exist between criminal and civil law:

  • The way cases are started (who charges or files suit)
  • The way matters are resolved (by a judge or a jury)
  • The types of punishment or penalty
  • Proof criteria 

In criminal cases, only the federal or state government (the prosecution) may file a claim; a jury makes the decision; conviction for serious (felony) charges often consists mainly of incarceration but may include a fine; to reach a verdict, the prosecution must prove the defendant's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt"; and defendants are protected from police or prosecutors who violate their constitutional rights (Fifth Amendment).

In contrast, claims in civil cases are conducted (suits are filed) by a private party (the plaintiff); issues are usually determined by a judge (though significant cases may involve juries); sanction almost always consisted mainly of a compensation scheme yet never consists of incarceration; to succeed, the plaintiff must establish the guilt only by the the "preponderance of evidence"; and defendants are not entitled to the same basic protections as the criminally accused.

"Since a single missconduct might result in both a public crime and private damage, it can result in civil and criminal actions."

The significant distinction between civil and criminal litigation is that in civil proceedings, one or both parties seek monetary or other compensation rather than criminal prosecution. In most criminal proceedings, the prosecution represents the state where the trial occurs. In civil proceedings, however, both parties represent independently with the help of a civil litigation lawyer.

Here are the most frequent civil court cases.

  • Disputes Over Contracts

Contract conflicts arise when one or more contracting parties cannot or will not perform their responsibilities. Sometimes is the result of a contract in confusing language, which causes different expectations between the parties. Still, it is generally because one side has overreached itself and needs extra funds or personnel to meet its responsibilities.

  • Disputes Over Property

Property law deals with disagreements over land ownership and harm to another person's estate. A civil legal attorney handles various forms of property issues. The property line is a specific point of conflict, with one side alleging that a neighbor exceeded the limit between the two homes to construct or landscape.

  • Torts

A civil action in which the party claims that the other party has inflicted physical or mental injury. They can take numerous forms, including a person's physical safety, material safety, or financial stability. Assault or violence lawsuits and neglect cases in which the party claims a caretaker failed to do their assigned duties are common torts on accident and damage.

The property might be both mobile and immobile. The aggrieved person is compensated financially. There can be a deliberate tort, unintentional tort, or no-fault responsibility. 

Torts need two elements: 

1) the establishment of a legitimate right, and 

2) an infringement for which compensation is given.

  • Sports Law

Includes all issues surrounding professional athletes. It is also associated with regulations that oversee amateur and junior sports. Injury, contractual, civil justice, copyright, and athletic administration are all laws that impact the sports sector.

  • Tax Law 

These legal rules and processes regulate how the federal, state, and municipalities determine how much tax you owe. A few include the law's income, corporation, excise, luxury, estate, and property taxes. The United States Congress creates most tax laws that are often updated or changed. Although studying the laws when completing your tax return is not required, your paperwork and directions will change yearly to reflect current tax rules.

  • Consumer Protection Law

Consumer rights offer protection from faulty products and deceptive or fraudulent company activities.

  • Family Law

Marriage, divorce, annulment, child custody, adoption, birth, child support, and other family-related matters are dealt with under family law. This section of Civil Law is distinctive in that a single individual does not always commit a civil wrong. Family courts are involved in matters involving the distribution of assets and other property, assigning custody of a child, resolving support in divorce cases, welfare benefits, and so on.

  • Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits are similar to tort lawsuits in that the defense represents a set or groups of people affected by the same issue. These are prevalent in cases of defective items or exposure to dangerous materials when the defective item damages several individuals before being stopped.

  • Complaints to the City

Complaints against the local or federal government are usually handled out of court; however, if the state refuses to negotiate, the claims are typically adjudicated as civil proceedings. These claims can be made in any litigation where the plaintiff claims that local law or regulation has harmed its residents.

Civil proceedings can arise from numerous circumstances, and they can occasionally follow a criminal case with a bad outcome. If you believe you have a valid claim, please call Tisdale Law, and we will assist you in assessing your options.

If you want to know more, listen to this episode of our podcast, "Law Talk."

Click here to listen


About the Author

Joshua Tisdale

As a father of 9 I understand first hand the issues that most families run into. From child custody and child support, to termination of parental rights and adoption, and even probate, I can empathize with your case. I know how to synthesize information and make it understandable and relatable to...


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