Nine Phases of Personal Injury Cases (Part 2)
In our previous post, we discussed the first three phases of a personal injury cases: contacting an attorney, the initial investigation, and insurance claims and negotiations. If your case does not end with an insurance settlement, the next six phases occur.
Personal Injury Cases – Filing the Complaint
To formally begin a lawsuit, you must file a complaint that lays out the basic facts of the situation, states your legal claims, and asks for compensation. Your attorney will draft this document for you and explain the next steps of the case, including service of process and how the other parties must answer. Once you file the complaint, it will be more than month before your attorney heads back to court.
Once the lawsuit is underway, the parties will use the discovery process to gather information from each other. This can include asking each other questions, requesting documents, and deposing witnesses and experts about the event and your injuries. This portion of the lawsuit can take a considerable amount of time – months or longer than a year – but it is crucial to learning more about the situation and potentially winning the suit.
Settlement or Trial
Even after a lawsuit is filed, you and the other parties have the right to settle the case. However, if you do not reach an agreement, the suit will go to trial. It can take months to set a trial date due to judges’ schedules. At this point, it may be more than a year since you filed the complaint.
Your trial can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks, and may be heard by a judge or a jury, depending on the situation and jurisdiction. During trial, each side will present the evidence to its best advantage, including documents, photographs, video footage, and testimony regarding the accident and fault.
Once both sides finish presenting their cases, the judge or jury will deliberate and decide the outcome of the case. Depending on if you filed more than one cause of action, you may win on all causes or some of them. Even if you succeed on one or more counts, you may receive more or less than the specific damages you asked for in the complaint. Once a final judgement is entered, you can no longer settle outside of court with the other parties.
Collecting Your Recovery
Most insurance companies or businesses will pay, but if the other party refuses, your lawyer may have to conduct post-judgement proceedings to find out information regarding the individual’s or business’s assets and income. It can take weeks or months, but there are steps your attorney can take to help you recover.
Appealing the Decision
If you lose your lawsuit, your attorney will advise you on whether or not you are likely to win an appeal. Under the law, you have a certain period of time to file an appeal.
Contact the Santa Rosa Personal Injury Law Office of Beck Law P.C.,today to learn more about personal injury law.