Civil litigation is between two parties in which one party is claimed to have injured another, and it's the kind of litigation most businesses will be involved in. Criminal law is the government prosecuting a crime against society. In civil law, the burden of proof changes from "reasonable doubt" to "preponderance of evidence," which is less onerous on the plaintiff.
Instead of filing an answer within the time specified in the summons, the defendant can choose to dispute the validity of the complaint by filing a demurrer (in the handful of jurisdictions where that is still allowed) or one or more "pre-answer motions," such as a motion to dismiss. It is important that the motion be filed within the time period specified in the summons for an answer. If all of the above motions are denied by the trial court, and the defendant loses on all appeals from such denials (if that option is available), and finally the defendant must file an answer.
AALL and chapter volunteers researched primary legal materials in the 50 states plus District of Columbia to determine if online legal materials are trustworthy and preserved for permanent public access. This collection brings together information from AALL's National Inventory of Legal Materials and updates, the Preliminary Analysis of AALL’s State Legal Inventories, the 2007 State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources and the 2009-2010 State Summary Updates.
Lawsuits can become additionally complicated as more parties become involved (see joinder). Within a "single" lawsuit, there can be any number of claims and defenses (all based on numerous laws) between any number of plaintiffs or defendants. Each of these participants can bring any number of cross claims and counterclaims against each other, and even bring additional parties into the suit on either side after it progresses. In reality however, courts typically have some power to sever claims and parties into separate actions if it is more efficient to do so. A court can do this if there is not a sufficient overlap of factual issues between the various associates, separating the issues into different lawsuits.