In any personal injury case the litigation begins when our client files the lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is filed, the negligent driver has 28 days to answer a client’s Complaint.
1. Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents
After the negligent driver and the other Defendants in the case have answered the Complaint, the attorneys send questions called Interrogatories and request documents called Request for Production of Documents. These Interrogatories include questions about the accident and witnesses that the negligent driver will provide at trial. It also provides all of the Defendant’s defenses in the case. We also send questions that request information about the accident, the insurance coverage provided, and the defenses in the case. Once these questions are answered, the parties also exchange documents that include all of the insurance policies, accident reports, medical records, bills and other damage documentation.
After written discovery is completed, the parties take the sworn testimony or depositions of all of the witnesses and parties. During the discovery process, the court will hold hearings to check the progress of trial preparation. During these “status conferences” or “pretrials,” the judge will set deadlines for the attorneys and verify that they are cooperating in exchanging the documentation required. The majority of courts will make it mandatory for you to be present for a final pretrial. This is often the time that settlement discussions occur.
3. Mediation (or Trial)
We always mediate all of our cases. Most of our cases resolve at mediation. The parties hire a mediator who is usually a private attorney or judge to facilitate negotiations between the parties. If your case has not settled at mediation, we continue to aggressively prepare for trial. This includes finalizing: witnesses, evidence, and how much compensation we are going to request. At this point, our expense will significantly increase. We will arrange the required exhibits and engage with you and the other witnesses.
Still Have Questions?
We hope this step-by-step guide is helpful in considering your personal injury case. As always, feel free to contact our office if we can be of further assistance.