A personal injury attorney will most likely persuade their clients to settle for much less than they should because they do not wish to take the matter to court. For some attorneys, it’s an issue of finances, while for others, it’s just a lack of courtroom experience or confidence.
An expert personal injury attorney will defend you before the court and jury for an extended period of time. They will not be hesitant to push a claim or case as far as it has to go to ensure that our personal injury clients obtain the compensation they deserve. While this is true, these attorneys are also aware that many of their clients have never filed a lawsuit or may have never been inside a courtroom. For this reason, the notion of initiating a lawsuit and undergoing legal processes might be intimidating for many individuals.
Procedures Prior to Filing a Lawsuit
It is always conceivable for a personal injury case to end in a jury trial. However, the truth is that few do. In many instances, after you have hired a personal injury attorney and they have reviewed your case, conducted their research, and gotten to know you and your injuries, they will approach the insurance company or their legal team directly to attempt settlement discussions.
A skilled attorney should keep you informed of these conversations and any noteworthy developments, while also allowing you the time and space to focus on recuperating from your injuries. While you are seeing your physician, physical therapist, or other experts, your attorney should be discussing with the insurance company what they should seriously consider providing you.
If these conversations go well, your matter will likely be resolved before filing a lawsuit. The insurance company must provide a settlement offer once your attorney has given all the facts about your injuries and damages, as well as the financial impact of those damages. This is a specific financial sum that the corporation feels they “owe” you for their client’s negligent conduct. Occasionally, this price is suitable for resolving your pain and suffering; other times, it is not acceptable or fair. It is eventually up to you to choose whether or not to accept the settlement offer, despite your attorney’s input.
If you opt to reject the settlement offer, your attorney will return to the drawing board to continue haggling with the insurance company in an attempt to obtain a more palatable settlement figure. If no such arrangement can be reached between the parties, your attorney will initiate a formal lawsuit on your behalf.
Pre-trial Phases of the Personal Injury Lawsuit
After a lawsuit is formally filed, a court will establish deadlines for the subsequent phases of the litigation. Depending on the intricacy of your case, the pre-trial and trial phases might last anywhere from months to years. You will need to ensure that you comprehend and are prepared for this reality because the truth is that courtroom disputes are time-consuming, but a settlement can still be reached if one or both parties alter their minds.
The pre-trial procedure consists of three phases:
- The complaint is a document that explains your accusations, how you were wounded, and the degree of your injuries. It is filed with the county where you were wounded or where the defendant resides, and then served on the defendant. The defendant must next “Answer” to the Complaint by acknowledging or rejecting the charges contained within.
- Discovery is the period within which both parties collect evidence, testimony, and documents from third parties about the case. The procedure may also include depositions or a conference in which witnesses are questioned orally and the answers are recorded. During a deposition, your attorney will ask the questions, but they will rely on you for the information they need to choose which questions to ask.
- After gathering facts, the defendant in your case may make a motion either before or after the conclusion of discovery. In doing so, they are requesting that the court take action on their behalf by dismissing one or more of your claims or the entire case, although there is no assurance that this will occur. Occasionally, a hearing is arranged so the court can hear all sides of an argument.
Mediation may be utilized as a last resort to avoid legal procedures. Mediation is comparable to the first negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company, with the addition of a neutral mediator to facilitate the process. You and your attorney will likely be present in the mediation room to hear the arguments and when an agreement is no longer feasible, the matter will go to trial.
Pursuing Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Before the Courts
Your attorney will first present your case before the judge or jury, and then the attorney for the defendant will do the same thing. You and your lawyer will be present in the courtroom together, and depending on the terms of the agreement, you might or might not be questioned by the other side’s lawyers.
Even if the judge or jury finds it in your favor, it is conceivable that the trial is not yet finished after all of these steps have been completed. The defense may decide to file an appeal with a higher court and request that they rethink their judgment. Even if they choose not to appeal, it may still take some time before you receive the financial distribution that is rightfully yours. This is one of the reasons why the entire process of a lawsuit and the procedures in court might take months or even years.
When it is time for you to claim the compensatory damages that are owed to you, your attorney will first use a part of that money to pay any legal liens or fees owed, and they will also likely keep the payment that is owed to them for the services that they provided.
When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is indeed a time-consuming task, but, if you will be able to hire the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, you will be able to successfully navigate the process. When you work with a law firm that handles personal injury cases, you will have access to specialists who are well-versed in each phase of the procedure and are unafraid to bring your case before a judge if it becomes essential to do so. But most crucially, it means having access to legal representation that will be forthright with you about the status of your case and will make every effort to prioritize your needs and those of your family.