Stages of a Personal Injury Case
Every personal injury case has certain factors that make it unique from the other cases that are filed each year. While the details of an accident and the extent of victim damages may differ, all personal injury cases involve the same basic processes.
When injury victims in the Lakeland, FL, and Winter Haven, FL, area are considering a lawsuit, personal injury attorneys at Moody Law can prepare them for what to expect during the various stages of a personal injury case.
Filing a Complaint and Serving the Defendant
When an injury victim decides to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, they should meet with an attorney to determine whether they have suitable grounds for a case. Upon looking at the details of the accident, and the injury victim’s losses, if the attorney establishes that a strong case exists, a complaint will be filed.
A complaint is a legal document that is filed with the civil court to provide a broad overview of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries, losses, etc. After filing the complaint, the plaintiff’s attorney has one month to “serve” the defendant, or notify them of the complaint and inform them when they need to appear in court.
The Discovery Phase
Once a defendant has been served and hires their own attorney, the discovery phase of a personal injury case begins. During discovery, both legal teams gather and exchange evidence to prove their argument. Discovery is a potentially lengthy process that involves exchanging documents and collecting depositions.
Documents that may be exchanged during the discovery phase of a personal injury case include:
- Medical bills and medical records
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Pictures of injuries
- Lost wage records
- Reports documenting property damage
- Police reports
Depositions are pre-trial testimony that are essential to personal injury cases. During the discovery phase each party is able to collect depositions from the other party (i.e. the plaintiff or defendant) as well as any witnesses that they intend to use in their case. Just like in court, people providing testimony in a deposition are sworn under oath to tell the truth. Depositions are recorded by a court reporter so that transcripts are on record.
Throughout the discovery phase and all the way up to trial, the legal teams for the plaintiff and defendant will be involved in negotiations to settle the case. Negotiations typically begin with the plaintiff’s attorney issuing a monetary demand to cover their client’s damages. Attorneys negotiate back and forth demanding and offering settlements that they believe to be fair based on the evidence exchanged during discovery.
Settlement or Trial
A personal injury lawsuit concludes with either a settlement or a trial. In many cases, we are able to obtain a settlement for our Lakeland clients, meaning that they are compensated for injury damages without going to trial.
If a court case is necessary, both parties will present their arguments (including presentation of evidence, witness testimony, etc.) to the court. At the conclusion of the trial, a judge or jury will make a judgement regarding if the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and, if so, how much they will pay in damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in an accident and are considering a personal injury lawsuit, the best way to get the process started is to schedule a free legal consultation with the attorneys at Moody Law. To discuss your case with our legal team, call (863) 284-9090 at your earliest convenience.