No matter if you or a loved one has experienced a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence relating to a car accident, medical malpractice, a defective product, premises liability or other similar circumstance, there are a few common things that can be expected in any personal injury case once it begins.
After you (the plaintiff) and your attorney are able to establish that your case is legitimate, your attorney will file an official personal injury complaint, which will serve as the first official document in your case. This complaint will explain general information about how you believe the accused party (the defendant) has acted negligently and how it has affected you personally. The complaint and service papers will be sent to the defendant with information about when to appear in court.
At this time, the defendant will have several weeks to seek professional legal assistance. Once this has happened, you enter the pre-trial litigation phase. This phase serves as the “discovery stage” for both parties to present or ask for evidence, witness statements, documentation and other information that can apply to the case. Both parties will also be asked to appear in front of a judge to determine what the set trial date will be, give him/her information about the case’s progress, and report to him/her if a mediator or arbitrator is necessary.
Shortly after, scheduled depositions (or the process of revealing evidence while under oath) will be made for both parties to participate in. One thing you can be sure to expect during this time is that it can some time, to go through the litigation stage, and it is likely that the trial date will be postponed.
But once the case starts nearing the trial date, mandatory settlement meetings will be set up for both parties, in which a jury will be selected, permitted evidence will be decided upon, and other details pertaining to the trial will be determined.
Lastly, the trial will commence, and will probably go on for multiple days. At this point, the appointed judge will review both sides of the case and ultimately decide the defendant’s liability or lack thereof in this case. If the judge finds the defendant guilty of negligent behavior that caused you or a family member injury or death, it will be decided upon at this time how much in recoveries will be owed to you.
Regardless of the outcome, both the defendant and the plaintiff have the ability to start an appeals process of the case should they choose to do so. Only after the appeals process is complete will the losing defendant have to pay for the opposing party’s damages.
A Settlement Will Likely Be Reached Beforehand
All this being said, many cases tend to reach a settlement before ever going to trial. Throughout the entire process, the parties can choose to come to a settlement agreement. What happens most often is that a settlement is reached after the litigation phase has taken place.
Your personal injury attorney can and should be able to prevent you from having to go to court at all, and he or she should also be able to help you get the recoveries you deserve with minimal effort on your behalf. At The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen, you can expect our team to work hard in this way, to ensure you have the time to focus on healing and putting the well-being of you and your family first.
Learn more about what a personal injury lawyer can do for you and other important information that may pertain to your case by reading a few of our blog articles online. Or, contact us online or by phone (1-800-33-COHEN) for a free consultation today to get started.