Personal injury cases can be of different types depending on the accidents and injury. But the steps you need to follow when dealing with such cases remain the same in all cases. The stages of a typical personal injury case will be discussed here. You will also know what to expect when meeting an attorney, the necessary initial court filings and many other necessary details.
- Meeting the attorney: After deciding to file a case the first thing you need to do is hiring an attorney for conducting your case. If you are from Temecula, it will be better to hire an expert temecula personal injury lawyer as these laws differ from state to state. After you hire an attorney, he will need much information related to your accident. He will want to hear about the details of the incidents or different types of information related to that incident. The time your attorney needs in such meetings depend on the circumstances of your accident. In simple straightforward cases like the car accident cases, he doesn’t take much time. But in the complicated cases like medical malpractice cases, they need to have a lot of information. And that’s why meetings for this type of cases takes more time than the others.
- Starting a lawsuit: After you hire an attorney he will help you to file the legal papers in court. These papers are named as “pleadings”. To understand these in the particular context of your case your attorney is going to help you. Many documents are included in the pleadings which you will need in your case. In different states, the names of these documents can be different. These documents include complaint/ petition, the summons, the answer, the Counterclaim, reply to the counterclaim, the cross-claim, reply to cross-claim, third-party complaint and the Answer to third party complaint.
- The Fact Finding Process: The American legal system requires as few surprises as possible during the course of lawsuits. Since the late 1940’s this rule has been followed by almost every states in America. All relevant facts and documents should be disclosed to the other side before the trial. And this process us followed by three methodical processes which are combinedly known as “discovery”. These three processes are written discovery which includes the interrogatories and requests for Admission, the document production which is the written self-explanation of both sides and the depositions where both the defendant and plaintiff should answer the questions of the attorneys.
- Resolution Before Trials: This is the process of resolving your case before trials or the court motions. Many important questions about the lawsuit can be solved during this. The motion is a request your attorney will file asking for the ruling. This is conducted on a particular matter. If the ruling on the motion can end the dispute and solve the case before the court trial it is called as dispositive motion. If the ruling is based on some questions arose during litigation, it is called nondispositive motion. In most personal injury cases the dispute is settled during this session.
- Settlement: This is followed by the previous step, the motion. Most of the accidents or injury cases don’t reach the civil court trial. They are resolved earlier during the litigation process. It is done by a negotiating process among the parties. Sometimes informal settlements take place outside the court or even before filing any case. In such settlements, the plaintiff agrees for not pursuing any legal action related to the accident or injury in exchange for an agreed amount of compensation from the defendant. Sometimes, the defendants agree to perform any certain action instead of paying compensation. You can also settle the legal claim after and accident instead of taking legal actions. In these cases too you need to get suggestions of the attorney.
- The Trial: In this step, the case is presented to the court where a judge or jury examines all the evidence and documents related to the incidents. The defendants should be held responsible for any injuries caused to the plaintiff. At the trials, the plaintiff gets the opportunity to argue his case and also the defendants are given the opportunity to present his evidence for refuting the plaintiffs. The judge or jury then decide who is responsible and if the defendant is proved liable, how he will compensate the plaintiff.
After the trial, if the plaintiff is proved right he will get compensation fixed by the court. The losing party either follow the court order or refuse to obey it and proceed for another judgement. Sometimes, the accused can’t pay all the money at a time. In such cases, he needs to pay according to the laws.