Personal injury claims typically begin with a claim submitted to a respondent party with details regarding the injury and how it occurred. In certain situations such as auto accident injuries, the parties will expect the filing well in advance of any litigation that may occur. However, in other injury cases, it is often necessary to contact the respondent using other methods such as certified mail and subpoena service. This begins the process that will eventually result in formal litigation filed with a jurisdictional court to begin the pursuit of financial recovery. This is a standardized process that allows all parties an opportunity to settle the issue along the way or continue to pursue and defend liability exemption. It is important for all parties in any personal injury lawsuit to understand the steps in the litigation process in pursuit of financial compensation.
Filing the Complaint
All formal litigation begins with a complaint filed by personal injury lawyers in the jurisdictional court that stipulates the problem and other case particulars. Included in the complaint will be a description of the injuries, a synopsis of how they occurred, and how the respondent could be the cause of those injuries. In addition, the complaint will also include a demand for a specific amount of compensation based on material case factors and possible ongoing liability for medical expenses and mental anguish. It is important to note that these filings must be completed within the window required by the state statute of limitations, so lapsed time can matter significantly.
Pretrial Motions Hearing
The first step after filing formal litigation is appearing at a pretrial hearing where the personal injury lawyers will present the case to the court. This procedure can include motions regarding specific witnesses and the following discovery phase. Respondents also have an opportunity to present any liability exemption evidence and request summary case dismissal by the court if no potential liability exists. In cases of clear respondent liability, defending personal injury lawyers may also submit an offer to settle the case outside of the courtroom. Following the pretrial hearing, the court will set the case on the docket.
The case gets serious in the discovery stage as personal injury lawyers submit all case particulars with respect to injuries suffered by the plaintiff and how they actually occurred. Included material evidence can also include depositions from witnesses and medical professionals who have provided treatment along with diagnosis and prognosis regarding the specified injury. This can be a vital component of the case because defense attorneys will have an opportunity to put the plaintiff on the stand for cross-examination regarding their injuries claims, including severity and personal activity that could have led to creating the injury. It is important to remember that each state uses some form of comparative negligence law, and states like North Carolina actually use pure contributory negligence law holding that even 1% of personal fault can result in a case dismissal by the court when personal negligence can be established.
The last step in a personal injury litigation case is presenting the case to a jury if it has not been settled beforehand. Most cases do not go to trial unless there are serious questions regarding comparative negligence on the part of the injured plaintiff or a high potential for punitive damage awards from a sympathetic jury. When a case does actually go to trial, it is always imperative to have legal counsel who has presented cases before a jury on multiple occasions and understands how to craft a case for maximum award. This especially applies when punitive damages may be assigned based on evidence of gross negligence on the part of the responding party.
Potential Case Settlement
It is important for injured plaintiffs to remember that each litigation phase is a formal opportunity for defending parties to offer a case settlement. The details of the case can actually drive this decision to offer a settlement, and an offer to settle the case is usually done to avoid the possibility of a punitive damage award when gross negligence evidence is significant. In states like North Carolina where pure contributory negligence law applies, defending party attorneys rarely make an offer to settle regardless of evidence indicating gross negligence on the part of their client. As a matter of fact, defending attorneys in the state will typically be the party forcing the case to trial in hopes of uncovering any amount of comparative negligence on the part of the injured plaintiff.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Being properly compensated for personal injuries is never an easy process, and it is practically impossible for novice injured victims to represent themselves successfully in a formal litigation proceeding. It is always essential to have experienced aggressive professional representation when taking a personal injury case to court. The process is wrought with technicalities, and all insurance company attorneys will use those technical legal issues at any interval. Call us today and let us put our experienced personal injury lawyers to work for you in your injury case. All prospective new clients receive a free case evaluation with one of our lead personal injury attorneys and there is no obligation to retain the services of Kellum Law Firm following your case review.