Every personal injury case is different, but there are certain typical litigation milestones that you may anticipate experiencing if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit after suffering an accident. If you’re considering going to court for your injuries, it makes sense to speak with our Albany Personal Injury lawyers about your circumstances and the best course of action in your personal injury case.
Stages of a regular personal injury lawsuit –
1. The Plaintiff gets injured and (in most cases) appoints an attorney.
Most plaintiffs will consult with an attorney before filing a lawsuit. Upon concluding that the plaintiff has a viable claim following the initial consultation and conducting an investigation, a fee agreement will be signed if the attorney determines that the case is plausible. The attorney-client relationship will be formalized.
2. A Complaint is filed against Defendant.
The complaint is the first legal document in the case, and it sets out in great detail what the plaintiff is claiming in their lawsuit. Following the complaint filing, the plaintiff’s counsel will have a month or more to identify the defendant and serve the complaint on them, depending on the circumstances. The defendant will be informed of the date by which they must appear in court in the complaint, which will be served.
3. The Defendant Engages the Services of an Attorney
Before appearing in court for the first time, the defendant will typically have a month or more to locate a counsel of their choice. Defense lawyers are compensated hourly rather than under a contingency fee arrangement. When they become aware of the lawsuit’s existence, the defendant must tell the insurance carrier if insurance coverage is available ( a strict requirement in insurance policies). If the defendant has not previously retained an attorney, the insurance company will appoint and pay for one on its own dime.
4. Pre-trial proceedings and the Discovery phase
During the early phases of the case, both parties will appear in court to notify the judge of the case’s progress, agree (or not agree) to mediation or arbitration, and schedule a date for the trial to take place. The trial phase is the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit. Finally, the trial will commence, and the judge or jury will evaluate whether or not the defendant was at blame for the accident and the plaintiff’s losses and, if so, how much the defendant is obligated to compensate the plaintiff for those losses.
The most likely outcome is a negotiated settlement.
The majority of personal injury claims are resolved before going to trial. The parties can settle and stop the matter throughout the procedure outlined above, even before the complaint is filed.