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When you suffer a personal injury, you may find yourself living a nightmare. All of a sudden, things that you could easily do before, become complicated. From getting to your job without a car if it was totalled in the accident, to dealing with the aftermath of injuries and damage to your health, the consequences of the injury may follow you for a long time, if not forever. That is why it is so important for you to know now what happens during a personal injury lawsuit, something you may be considering even though it may make you anxious just thinking about it.
Start by Meeting with an Attorney
Once you have taken care of your health, meet with a personal injury lawyer to find out if you have a valid claim. During this consultation, you will have an opportunity to tell your lawyer what happened and show him any evidence or document you have regarding the injury. There will be no charge for this consultation.
Take advantage of this time to decide whether this is the attorney you want to work with. You should ask about other cases they have been involved with and the results they have had. Your lawyer should also be quite straightforward about how they will work with you and how much you will have to pay, should the case be successful.
The Case Will be Investigated
Your attorney needs to research your injuries thoroughly and come to an understanding of what happened, what damages you have suffered, and their costs. They may establish direct communication with the insurance company or with the attorney of the other party. You may receive a settlement offer even before the lawsuit is filed.
Filing the Lawsuit
If no settlement is agreed upon, the lawsuit is filed. The judge will inform you of the dates for every phase. The other party will be served a complaint and must answer it within 30 days. During the discovery phase, both parties will gather testimonies of witnesses, evidence, and documents, and inform each other.
During the motions phase, the defendant’s lawyer will ask the Court to take action on their behalf and dismiss sections of your claim or the entire case. Your lawyer has 28 days to oppose the motion. A hearing may be scheduled to hear both sides.
This alternative way to resolve a dispute can be requested at any time. A neutral mediator talks with both parties and their attorneys and listens to both sides. The mediator can help reach a settlement but it is non-binding, meaning that both parties have the right to either accept or reject the offer.
Your lawyer will present your case to a judge or jury and so will the lawyer for the defense. The purpose of the trial is to determine whether the defendant is legally responsible for your injuries and, if this is the case, the number of damages that you must be paid by the defendant.
Since the defendant has the right to appeal to a higher court to reconsider the verdict, you may find that this is not the end of your personal injury lawsuit. You should find more information about the possible outcomes of a personal injury lawsuit before filing a claim to make an informed decision.