The field of civil litigation is very broad. For the most part, civil litigation consists of either tort disputes or contract disputes.
A tort is any civil wrong of a non-contractual nature that typically would be handled by a personal injury lawyer. For instance, if an individual is injured in an automobile accident as the result of the negligence of someone else, that negligence constitutes a tort. Likewise, if a person is killed on a construction job as the result of the negligence of some third party then that wrongful death action founded upon a negligence theory is a tort claim. When a doctor commits medical malpractice in the performance of a procedure, that malpractice is a tort founded upon a negligence theory. Likewise, if an attorney commits malpractice in the performance of representation of a client then that action or omission on his part is a tort.
Contract litigation, on the other hand, arises out of either an express or implied agreement between two or more parties which is breached by one of the parties. For instance, if you enter into a written contract with your next door neighbor and then your next door neighbor decides that he does not want to go through with the contract, that decision on his part constitutes a breach of the contract and he may be sued for that breach of contract.
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For more information on what is civil litigation see the pages on Wikipedia.