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If you face a civil lawsuit, the chances are good that you will settle the case before it ever goes to trial. However, there is always a chance that you will go to trial so that you may plead your case and get the court to rule on it instead of just agreeing through a settlement. If this happens, it helps to understand what to expect.

The American Bar Association explains that when it comes to the trial phase of a civil case, it is fairly similar to a criminal case trial. Both sides have a chance to gather evidence and enter motions. You will probably have multiple pre-trial conferences where you can work towards a settlement.

The court often prefers that cases settle before trial because it saves time and money. Any trial will take up court resources and add to the overall costs of a case. You have the right, though, to not settle and go to trial. The final decision is always up to you.

If you do go to trial, you and the other party will each have a chance to present your case and provide evidence and witness. You will also have the right to cross-examine the other side’s witnesses and examine their evidence. It is very similar to the process that occurs in a criminal trial.

You should note that when going to court, you do have the option of a jury trial, even in a civil case. However, it is more common to have a bench trial where the judge hears and decides the case.