November 9, 2023
What Does Litigation Mean in a Personal Injury Case?
Litigation in a personal injury claim refers to the formal legal process where disputes arising from injuries due to negligence of another party are resolved through the court system. This includes actions taken before and during a trial to prove liability and seek compensation for the injuries and losses sustained.
The personal injury litigation process can be the key to securing compensation when attempts at negotiating a settlement fail. You should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has the skills and resources to take your case to trial if a satisfactory settlement is not reached.
Stage 1: Pre-Litigation Phase
In the pre-litigation phase of personal injury claims, seasoned personal injury lawyers take several necessary steps to build a strong foundation:
- Gathering Evidence: This stage involves collecting evidence to prove that you suffered injuries due to the negligence caused by the other party. This includes medical records, accident reports, photographs, and witness statements.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Many personal injury cases begin with negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. A fair settlement should cover medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Stage 2: Initiation of Litigation
A diligent personal injury attorney will always prepare a case for trial. You would need to file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement for your damages, including treatment for serious injuries.
- Filing a Lawsuit: This is where an injured party formally initiates legal action by filing a complaint in court. The complaint outlines the facts of your case, personal injuries sustained, and the damages sought.
- Naming Liable Party: It is important to identify and name the responsible parties involved in the civil lawsuit.
- Serving Legal Documents: Properly serving legal documents to all relevant parties is vital to ensure that they are aware of the lawsuit.
- The Defendant’s Response: The defendant will respond to the complaint, either admitting or denying the allegations. This phase may also involve counterclaims and defenses.
Stage 3: Discovery Process
Under personal injury law, the discovery phase is where both parties gather information and present evidence to build their individual personal injury lawsuit:
- Interrogatories and Requests for Documents: This is a complex process by which both sides can request information and records relevant to the legal proceedings. It basically involves exchanging documents between two parties.
- Depositions: Depositions are oral examinations and interviews under oath to understand the facts of the case. Your attorney will subpoena witnesses, such as medical experts and private investigators to prove financial losses and non-economic damages.
Stage 4: Pre-Trial Motions and Settlement Attempts
Several actions may take place before a particular case moves to trial:
- Summary Judgments: Parties may file motions for summary judgment, which can lead to the case being dismissed before trial.
- Motions in Limine: These motions play a significant role in determining what evidence will be allowed or excluded from the trial. Your attorney will need to ensure there is enough evidence to justify the settlement amount.
- Settlement Conferences: In the vast majority of civil personal injury lawsuits, the at-fault party attempts to settle the case before it goes to trial through a settlement agreement. Your attorney will represent you in formal settlement conferences to help you receive fair compensation.
Stage 5: Trial
If a settlement is not reached, your personal injury case will go to trial. During the trial phase, your claim will be presented before a judge or jury:
- Selection of a Jury: Your lawyer and the party responsible for your injuries will select impartial jurors.
- Presentation of Evidence: This includes opening statements, witness testimonies, cross-examination, and the presentation of documents and exhibits.
- Closing Arguments: Both sides make their closing arguments summarizing their cases. Your attorney will show how the defendant owed you a duty of care and breached it, which resulted in damages.
- Jury Deliberation and Verdict: The jury deliberates and reaches a final verdict, which determines the outcome of the case.
Stage 6: Post-Trial Actions
After the trial for car accident claims and other personal injury cases, several actions may occur:
- Appeals and Post-Trial Motions: Either party may file an appeal or post-trial motions if they believe there were errors during the trial.
- Enforcement of Judgments: If you receive a favorable verdict, you may need to take steps to enforce the judgment and collect fair compensation from the negligent party.
Get a Top-Rated Personal Injury Lawyer on Your Side
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Meyers Injury Law have a single-minded focus on achieving substantial compensation for our clients. The proven track record of our law firm indicates our passion for providing effective legal representation. We always prepare solid claims that not only hold their ground in negotiations but also go the distance in a court trial. To set up your free consultation, call (615) 258-9000 or reach us online.