Depending on the type of injury, a personal injury or accident lawsuit can take many forms. However, there are some basic stages of every personal injury case which are the same for every case. Let’s have a look at the different stages of a personal injury case and what happens at each stage:
Meeting the Attorney – If you have decided to go ahead and file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. This will of course take place after you have received adequate medical treatment for your injuries. In this initial meeting with the attorney, you’ll have to answer several questions and give details about the incident.
Initiate the Case – After the initial meeting, when you decide to go ahead, the attorney will start the case by filling the initial court papers. The attorney will also explain you every step of the way and give you information regarding complaints, answers and any motions involved at the beginning of the case.
Discovery and Fact-Finding – The next step is called the discovery process where each party in the lawsuit exchanges information with the other party and establishes all the facts related to the case. The discovery phase takes place before trial and allows each side to obtain relevant facts from the other side. In this phase, each party prepares for the case thoroughly so they don’t have to face any surprises later on during trial.
Resolution through Motions – A lot of personal injury cases are resolved before trial through motions. These motions could be motions to dismiss or other motions where your attorney will ask the court to end the case before it goes to trial.
Reaching a Settlement – If both parties agree to the settlement terms and amount, the case will settle before trial. A number of factors need to be considered when settling a personal injury case which your attorney will discuss with you. Resolution through motions will save you the trouble of going to court and going to trial.
Going to Trial – If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, then the case goes to trial. The trial process starts with jury selection, and proceeds to the opening arguments, witness testimony, closing arguments, and finally the jury’s verdict. The trial process can be lengthy, and can go on for months in some cases.
Collecting Money after Judgement – The jury’s verdict is not the final step in any personal injury case. After the verdict, your attorney will have to collect on the judgement. This requires work on behalf of the attorney until everyone has received their share.
Appealing a Judgement or Decision – If you are not happy with the jury’s verdict, you can file an appeal. Again, your attorney will have to work on the case so a different and more favorable outcome is reached when the case is appealed.
A large number of personal injury cases are resolved during trial through informal settlement negotiations. The parties may choose alternative dispute resolutions or even dismiss the case altogether. Whatever you decide, make sure you have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side at all times so your rights are protected at all times.