What to Expect from Your Personal Injury Case

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the majority of personal injury cases are finalized outside of court with 90% to 95% settling before a trial begins. The best personal injury lawyers will fight for you, whether that means going to trial or having your case settled out of court. If you’ve been injured and aren’t sure what to expect from the personal injury court process, keep reading to find out more.

Complaint Filing

The first step in the process is the filing of the complaint. This is where your attorney states the facts of the case and the issue that the court will make decisions about. This document often includes language about the damages you seek and why. Once the complaint has been filed, a summons will be issued for the defendant. These two steps comprise the process that begins the lawsuit. It’s important to make sure that your personal injury lawyers have all the relevant information in order to file the complaint. Be sure to answer their questions as fully as possible during this stage so that the complaint is complete. After the claim is received by the opposing party, they will be given the opportunity to respond to the court before the case moves forward.

Discovery Process

This is usually the most important and most time-consuming stage of a case. For example, if you are involved in an auto accident, it’s during discovery that witnesses will be interviewed, traffic camera footage will be obtained, and mobile phone records for all parties will be reviewed. Depositions will also be scheduled during this stage of the process. Sitting for a deposition is similar to testifying in court as you’ll be under oath. It’s important to fully review your case as well as the case the opposing counsel is building with your lawyer prior to sitting for your deposition. Answer all the questions as honestly and as briefly as you’re able. Medical reviews will also occur during this time frame, and you may be compelled to undergo additional medical examinations. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for the discovery process of a complex case to last several months.

Rulings on Motions

This stage is when your lawyer and the opposing counsel file a number of different motions with the court. Many times a defendant will file a motion to dismiss if they believe that the case is without merit and shouldn’t be brought before a judge. This is a standard procedure and not a reflection of the strength of your case. Don’t be alarmed if the defense tries this move with your case. It’s a fairly common tactic and your lawyer will respond appropriately.

Pre-Trial Meetings and Negotiations

Most people would prefer to avoid a jury trial as they’re expensive and can drag out a case for years. There are three other options that are available as a means to avoid a trial. They are mediation, settlement, and arbitration. A pre-trial settlement provides the most control over the outcome. Arbitrations are usually binding and typically cannot be appealed. For this reason, they are often avoided except when mandated. Mediation also relies on a neutral third party, but the results aren’t binding. In most circumstances, a settlement is reached between the two parties. As a case moves closer to trial, both parties usually try to settle before the trial begins. This allows both parties to reach an agreement that works for everyone and avoid the cost of a trial. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be skilled at negotiating with other parties to bring about a favorable result for their client.

Trial and Appeal

If the pre-trial negotiations fall through, the case will go to trial. The first step in the process is jury selection, with both sides allowed to exclude a certain number of potential jurors. You’ll also meet with your attorney to discuss trial strategy and walk you through what you can expect. Following a trial, both parties are allowed to appeal the judge’s or jury’s decision. This potential outcome is another reason why many cases are settled well before a trial begins. You don’t want to have your case drag on without resolution.

We’re the professional personal injury lawyers to call to handle your case. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s neglect or malice, we’ll help you get the justice you deserve. Contact Law Offices of Burton & Beale today to schedule your complimentary consultation. We look forward to working with you!

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