Understanding the Stages of a Personal Injury Case
Whether you’ve been injured in an automobile accident or at grocery store, you may be wondering about your legal options and rights. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might be dealing with repeated visits to a hospital or rehabilitation center and you may find yourself unable to work due to your injuries. So, what do you do to ensure those who are responsible for your injuries are brought to justice? If you’ve contacted a Denver personal injury lawyer, you may have been advised to file a personal injury lawsuit. But what comes next?
File the Necessary Documents to Initiate the Lawsuit
Once you’ve obtained the services of a skilled personal injury lawyer who has determined that taking your case to court is the most appropriate option, you will need to file certain documents, known as pleadings, to initiate the lawsuit. The primary document that needs to be filed is the complaint. A complaint provides an outline of your case and is typically drafted only after a thorough investigation and considerable research has been conducted. The complaint must be served on the defendant (individual or entity), who will then be given the opportunity to reply by filing an answer in response to the allegations made in the complaint.
The Discovery Process
Prior to going to court, your lawyer will begin the discovery process. This is a process that involves gathering all the pertinent information needed to support your case. Depending on the type of case, your attorney may find it necessary to consult with experts in a particular field, including accident reconstructionists, doctors, engineers and many others. This particular stage of the case is crucial and it often means the difference between a successful outcome or a less than desirable judgment.
A Word About Settlements: A Pre-Trial Resolution
You may or may not realize that many personal injury claims never even make it to a courtroom because they are resolved through settlement negotiations between the parties. Settlement discussions typically include an agreement by the defendant to pay damages to the injured party in exchange for the injured party agreeing not to pursue further legal action. While it may be tempting to simply accept the first settlement offered, it is important for you to work with an attorney who will ensure any settlement reached is in your best interest in the long run.
The Courtroom Experience
If you do not reach a settlement prior to trial, your case will continue to the trial stage. In court, your lawyer will argue your case and a determination will be reached as to liability and compensation to be paid by the defendant. Each case varies greatly, depending on the jurisdiction, so there’s no real way to determine exactly how long you will go through the litigation process.
It is important to note that settling your case prematurely could do you more harm than good. To ensure you obtain the best outcome possible, contact Levine Law right away. Let us help you protect your rights and options under the law.