American terminology is slightly different, in that the term "claim" refers only to a particular count or cause of action in a lawsuit. Americans also use "claim" to describe a demand filed with an insurer or administrative agency. If the claim is denied, then the claimant, policyholder, or applicant files a lawsuit with the courts to seek review of that decision and participates in the lawsuit as a plaintiff. In other words, the terms "claimant" and "plaintiff" carry substantially different connotations of formality in American English, in that only the latter risks an award of costs in favor of an adversary in a lawsuit.
Once you file the necessary papers to begin a lawsuit, you will face a number of deadlines -- for everything from requestingthat your case be heard by a juryto telling your opponent what evidence you plan to introduce at trial. Make careful note of these deadlines and make sure that you meet every one. The judge won't give you any leeway just because you are representing yourself -- and missing an important deadline could result in your case being thrown out of court.
David Brown practices law in the Monterey, California area, where he has represented both landlords and tenants in hundreds of court cases -- most of which he felt could have been avoided if both sides were more fully informed about landlord/tenant law. Brown, a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara Law School, also teaches law at the Monterey College of Law and is the author of Fight Your Ticket in California, Beat Your Ticket and others.
A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is in the plaintiff's favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.