If you have never been involved in a personal injury case, the first step in understanding the litigation process is how to file a lawsuit. Once you file a lawsuit, the next question is likely, “What happens after I file a lawsuit?” What can you expect after your lawsuit is served?
Answer & Discovery
Once your lawsuit is served on the at-fault party, the other side typically responds by filing an Answer to your Complaint. In the Answer, the Defendant must admit or deny the allegations in your lawsuit. Once an Answer is filed, discovery usually begins when the parties exchange things like interrogatories (formal written questions) and requests for production of documents pertaining to your case. The next part of discovery involves things like taking depositions, doing inspections, hiring experts to review documents, etc.
After the discovery phase, the parties usually participate in mediation. Mediation is a formal settlement conference where you will meet with a mediator, or neutral party. Usually, mediators are experienced attorneys or retired judges that have extensive legal experience. This neutral party will hear both sides of the case, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and essentially try to broker a deal. The goal of mediation is to get the case settled.
If you cannot settle your case through mediation, the next step in the litigation process is trial. Trials are not easy; A trial takes a lot of time, effort, and preparation but can be very rewarding for the client in the end. Success at trial is closely tied to three things: (1) Pre-trial preparation, (2) the strength of your case, and (3) your lawyer’s trial skills. Trials rarely go well for those who are unprepared. Chase and Joel give some important tips for winning the trial of a personal injury case in this video:
If for some reason your case goes sideways or you lose your case at trial, you always have the option to appeal. An appeal would be the last potential step in the litigation process.
If you have never been involved with a personal injury case before, please don’t go through this process alone. Seek a trustworthy and knowledgeable attorney to consult with right away.
For a free consultation, call Williams Elleby today at 833-534-2542.