Are you planning to work with a lawyer to settle your personal injury, and you're wondering what is involved in the process? If so, it helps to have an overview of what will happen at the beginning so that you know what to expect.
The process starts with the initial meeting with your personal injury lawyer. This often happens after someone has already started treatment for their injury, but it can even happen when someone is experiencing symptoms and doesn't know what to do. Pre-litigation involves a lot of investigative work to gather more information about how the injury happened.
For example, if it was a car accident, the lawyer may want to take a trip out to the accident site and look for any evidence that can help with the case. The lawyer will also start examining all potential losses, such as lost wages due to missed days from work.
Letters of representation will also be sent to every party involved in the case. This includes insurance companies, property owners, and anybody else who could be at fault for causing the injury. The purpose of this is to figure out whose insurance company needs to get involved to ultimately pay out the potential settlement in the end.
File The Complaint
The lawyer will then draft the formal complaint that will be submitted to the court, which is then served to the defendants by a process server. The defendants need to respond to the complaint by providing their formal answer. In most situations, the defendants deny responsibility and a request for judicial intervention will be made to get the court involved in the process
The discovery part of the process refers to document discovery and depositions. Specific documents may be requested from the defendant that they are suing, and the defendant will typically request medical records to verify the nature of the injury. Depositions will also take place, which is the formal process of answering someone's questions under oath. The conversation is transcribed, and can then be used as part of the lawsuit as a statement.
With both sides having all the information they've collected during discovery, the case can move onto mediation. This is when both sides try to work out the problem outside of the courtroom. It's a bit like a negotiation meeting, where your lawyer requests a settlement amount, and the defendant can either accept, reject, or make a counteroffer to settle the case. If both parties cannot agree on a settlement offer, the case will go to trial where it is settled by a judge or jury.
For more information, contact a personal injury attorney.