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5 Basic Types of Civil Cases

5 Basic Types of Civil Cases on

A civil case is a legal dispute between two or more parties. The process starts when someone files a lawsuit (plaintiff) against a single person or group of people (defendant). The purpose of a lawsuit is usually to win compensation for damages, injuries or money that is lost as the result of an action taken by the defendant. There are several types of civil cases so legal professionals should become familiar with all of them.

1.  Tort claims (injuries)

One of the most common types of civil cases involves tort or injury claims. Tort claims might be filed against a business or an individual and involves accusations of alleged negligence. In this case, the plaintiff asks for punitive damages to compensate for medical bills, lost time at work or money spent replacing damaged property.

There are three categories of tort claims:

  • Negligence – Unintentional injury or damage.
  • Intentional – A deliberate wrongdoing.
  • Strict liability – Based on a strict duty to ensure something is safe. It does not require negligence or intent.

Examples of tort claims:

  • Assault & battery
  • False imprisonment
  • Fraud
  • Emotional distress
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Car or bicycle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip & fall
  • Defective product that causes an injury
  • Animal attacks (dog bites)

2.  Breach of contract claims

This type of civil claim involves a dispute over a contract. Contract disputes can involve multiple businesses or individuals. Any partnership or client relationship relies on a contract to ensure both parties do what has been promised. When one party breaks the agreement, for any reason, a lawsuit is often the result.

Types of contract disputes:

  • Disputes between a landlord and tenant
  • Disputes between a homeowner and building contractor for remodeling
  • Dispute over the sale of property
  • Defective product that has been sold
  • Non-delivery of paid purchases
  • Violation of the non-compete agreement
  • Violation of the business agreement

3.  Equitable claims

With equitable claims, the plaintiff asks the court to order a company or individual to refrain from doing something, which is known as an injunction. This type of case is not about a monetary reward for a past injury but is done to prevent a future harmful act.

Equitable claims might ask the court to:

  • Stop a developer from building a commercial plaza in a residential area
  • Have a party cease a certain activity
  • Transfer property to the rightful owner
  • Order a repair to property that is dangerous to visitors
  • Order a change of policy or to post warning signs

4.  Class action claims

Class action suits are similar to tort cases, except the “plaintiff” is actually a group or class of people. The “defendant” is often a corporation that is accused of negligence or intentional acts that caused many injuries.

Types of class action claims can include:

  • A company that exposes people to hazardous substances
  • Defective materials that caused multiple injuries, illness or death
  • Defective car parts that resulted in accidents
  • A company or entity that knowingly caused harm to a group of people
  • An individual or company that set out to defraud a group of people

5.  Complaints against the city

Often an individual or group of people will file a claim against the city of federal government. These cases usually involve some action that caused harm to citizens. It might also involve claims that someone’s civil rights have been violated.

Civil cases can be complicated legal proceedings. Any legal firm that provides private or commercial law services should be aware of the different types of civil cases that can arise.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.