During the initial stages of discovery, your personal injury attorney will get a better feel of your case. And after a detailed examination of the evidence gathered, your experienced personal injury attorney will inform you as to whether it is in your best interest to take your case to trial or to settle.
If your attorney determines that you should litigate, he will explain in detail the process of litigation.
Process of Litigation
Summons & Complaint
The first step, after a thorough investigation and preparation, is for your personal injury attorney to file a Summons and Complaint in the proper court. Your attorney will generally not need your assistance for this initial step. From this point on, you will be referred to as the plaintiff and the responsible party who caused your injuries will be referred to as the defendant.
Answer to the Complaint
Once the Summons and Complaint have been filed and served on the defendant, the insurance company will proceed to hire its own attorney to defend the lawsuit filed against its insured. The first step their attorney will take is to file a response to your complaint, known as an Answer to the Complaint. It is a normal and common practice for the Answer to the Complaint to deny all responsibility for the injuries, deny the extent of your injuries, and even bring in other parties who may be part negligent in causing your injuries.
The next step is a long and agonizing process of discovery. During discovery, it will be the goal of both side’s attorneys to gather as much information as possible in order to put together the best case for their client. This process will require you to provide answers to documents provided by the defense. Discovery may provide any of the following:
– Interrogatories – questions requiring written answer.
– Requests for Admissions – requires the parties to admit certain facts not in dispute
– Requests for production of documents – such as medical reports, witness statements, medical bills, and other such documents related to the case.
– Depositions – oral testimony from any party involved in the case
– Pretrial procedures such as motions and other tactics that process the case to trial
The last step in litigation, if your case does not settle through either mediation or arbitration, is the trial itself before a jury, if so requested by your personal injury attorney.
For more information about the legal procedures of taking a personal injury claim to trial, please call an experienced professional personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, APLC.