Your Personal Injury Case: What are the Steps?

The process of filing a claim can be daunting in the wake of being injured, but you don't have to navigate the time on your own. Filing a personal injury claim should begin with meeting with an attorney to discuss your case. They will need to know what happened and should be given as much evidence as possible to work with. While simple accidents, such as car accidents, may be easily to resolve, more complicated cases, such as product liability claims, may require more time.

Once in court, pleadings or legal papers are filed to begin the lawsuit. The first to be filed is the complaint or petition which provides an overview of the plaintiff's case against the defendant. Next comes the summons, which will have a pre-printed caption with the name of the court, the parties, and a docket number. The defendant must respond to the complaint in an answer-document and may raise a counterclaim against the plaintiff.

The "discovery" portion comes next, where the court requires all relevant facts to be disclosed to the other side prior to trial. Discovery can take place through written discovery, document production, or depositions.

Afterwards, pretrial motions may be filed, where your lawyer can ask the court to rule on a certain matter. Rulings that would end the litigation before a trial even starts are known as dispositive motion. Most claims do not even reach a civil court trial but are resolved earlier by means of a negotiated settlement between the parties. This can even happen before a lawsuit is filed. In a settlement, the plaintiff renounces any right to pursue their claim further in exchange for payment from the defendant or insurance company.

What Happens Once the Trial Begins

In cases that do make it to trial, the judge or jury will look over the evidence and determine whether the defendant is liable for the damages done to the plaintiff. The defendant also will have the chance to present their own evidence in their defense. If the jury or judge decides in your favor, they will then need to determine the amount you will receive. However, even if you are given a positive verdict, the defendant can appeal the ruling.

Categories: Personal Injury