A personal injury lawsuit begins when the complaint is filed with the court. The complaint is a legal document that identifies the defendant and your legal basis for filing the suit against that defendant. Facts are cited and the complaint is filed within the statute of limitations. While this initiates the process, the case does not gain momentum until the defendant and counsel receive the complaint and respond.
Your Attorney Assesses Negotiations First
Before your attorney files a complaint, he or she may assess how the negotiation process is going with the insurance company. If your attorney feels that negotiations are going in your favor, he or she may not file the complaint yet. The lawsuit is typically only filed as a means to add pressure to the insurance company or defendant to settle.
Discover occurs after the complaint. This is when your attorney and the defense’s attorney share evidence with one another. Sometimes, discovery involves a question and answer session with you and the defense.
Some cases may require a deposition, where both sides interview the defendant and plaintiff, under oath, and the answers are transcribed or videotaped.
Depositions for high value cases also involve witnesses. The purpose is to turn up every piece of potential evidence in favor of each side.
You may also be required to provide up-to-date medical bills and statements. While you provided these at the start of the lawsuit, during the deposition phase you will need to provide updated bills and additional costs that you have already encountered.
Assigning a Date
The case then moves to the phase where the court assigns a date. This is when your case’s trial begins. Most personal injury lawsuits are resolved prior to the court date.
To get a trial date, your attorney sends a request to the clerk.
If your attorney seeks a trial date, it is likely that they feel a trial is your only means to a settlement. Most attorneys will not seek a trial date until they have worked on initial settlement talks with the other side.
When insurance companies or the defense is not offering an adequate settlement, your case moves to trial. This is where your attorney’s skill plays a critical role. Your attorney must present the evidence and convince the jury that you are not only the victim, but that the defendant is responsible and should pay the settlement value you request.
Start with the Right Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been seriously injured due to someone’s negligence, you deserve the best opportunity to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact the injury team at Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary, P.S. by calling 509-586-7797 or requesting more information online.