Litigation is what happens after you file a claim in a personal injury case. You enter into a process of litigation that will be complete once the lawsuit is resolved. Many people do not know what this litigation process will be like. This can be a nerve-wracking time for you and your loved ones, especially if you do not know what to expect. While the litigation process can be complex, it can be broken down into steps that are fairly easy to understand.
Step 1: The Complaint
The first step in the litigation process is the complaint itself. If you are the victim of an accident caused by another person, and they sustained injuries as a result of this accident, you can make a claim to receive damages. If you are considering filing a claim, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. This type of lawyer has dealt with personal injury before and will therefore be familiar with the litigation process. Having a personal injury lawyer help with your case will make the process go smoothly and quickly.
After collecting the necessary evidence to support your claims, your lawyer will determine if your case is valid enough for you to make an official claim and seek compensation. Your lawyer can also help you through the process of making the claim and filing your lawsuit.
Step 2: Discovery and Motions
The next step of the process is discovery and motions. Once you file the claim, the at-fault party, also referred to as the defendant, will have a chance to state their opinion on the accident and respond to the claim that you have made. The discovery phase will then ensue, which is oftentimes the longest part of the litigation process. During this phase, both parties will gather the evidence that they need to build their case. Such evidence can include eyewitness accounts of the accident, photographs of the accident, documentation, medical reports and bills, police reports, etc.
This step in the process takes a long time because conducting interviews, tracking down information, and determining the full extent of your injuries is not easy. Sometimes it can take months or even a year to complete this step. During this time, your attorney or the opposing party’s attorney can also file any legal motions necessary for the case.
Step 3: Considering Alternatives to Court
Once the discovery and motions phase is completed, it is time to consider alternatives to court. Depending on the individual circumstances of your case, your lawyer might advise you to partake in mediation or as settlement instead of taking your case to trial. You can explore these options, and if you feel that you are not offered the compensation that you deserve, you can take your case to trial.
Step 4: Trial
The trial process can last anywhere from two days to two weeks. During this time, your personal injury lawyer will argue your case before a judge and a jury, presenting the facts and information obtained during the discovery phase. The opposing party’s lawyer will present his or her client’s case, and a verdict will be reached.
At the end of the trial, you will receive the compensation that is deemed appropriate for their losses and injuries. The whole process can be complex, so you should talk to a lawyer who has handled cases like this before.