You have suffered from an accident or an incident that has caused a personal injury and you’ve decided to consult a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case.
Typically, when you arrive for your first free consultation, personal injury lawyers will assess your case and decide if they can help you go after damages and possible monetary compensation. Here are some of the steps that will happen during the litigation process.
A Complaint is Filed or Served.
After it is decided that you have a legitimate case that is worth pursuing, your injury attorney will file a proper complaint in the civil court. It will name you as the plaintiff and the other party(s) that you are seeking compensation as a defendant.
It takes time, possibly a month or more, for the defendant to be found and served the complaint. Your personal injury lawyer will serve the defendant on your behalf, in a way that can be verified and ensure the defendant cannot claim not to know about the lawsuit. They will then be informed of the date by which they must appear in court.
At this point, the defendant may hire their own lawyer and they must alert the insurance company of the complaint. This could involve another lawyer representing the insurance company’s position.
Pretrial and Discovery
This is the part where both sides will talk about the evidence, witnesses, and anything that has been discovered and will also appear in court in front of a judge in order to determine how the case will proceed. Here, the case may end with an agreement, be set up for mediation and arbitration, or a trial date may be set. This is also the point where depositions from either side may be conducted. These under-oath depositions are a question-and-answer session. This can be a lengthy process. When discovery is concluded, the defendant may ask the judge to throw it out in a “summary judgment” thinking that you have not proved the case and you couldn’t possibly win at trial. This is where your personal injury lawyer comes in to counter this, keeping your standing in the case.
As the case moves closer to trial, you’ll see a ramping up of both sides as they start engaging in expert witness discovery and make motions of what evidence will be allowed in at trial.
The Trial Phase of the Personal Injury Lawsuit
Finally, if you have not been able to settle out of court and your case goes on to trial, this process may last for one to several days. At the trial, a jury will determine who is at fault in the accident, the losses you may have suffered, and how much the defendant is required to pay if it is found in your favor.
Settlements Are Most Likely Seen in These Types of Cases
Most personal injury cases settle before a trial. Any time during the pretrial or during the court trial the parties can settle the case to everyone’s benefit.
If you’re thinking about taking a personal injury case to trial, now would be a good time to schedule a free consultation and get an assessment of your situation to figure out the best way to move forward. Our Pasadena injury attorneys at Grigoryan Blum & Grigoryan are highly trained and experienced to advise you on the proper route to the compensation you deserve.