When you are injured by someone else or due to someone else’s negligence, whether it be in a car crash, victim of a crime or medical malpractice, the path forward to making yourself whole again can be long and confusing. Personal injury cases take on many different forms and can take months, if not years, to come to a final resolution. At Dolan Law and La Justicia, we help you through the complicated legal process and are dedicated to getting results. Here is the path you can expect your personal injury case to follow.
After you contact us, one of our attorneys will discuss your personal injury and the facts of how it occurred. We explain the process of your case, answer any initial questions you may have, and provide you with information sheets and a questionnaire. Lastly, you will sign a contract and any other necessary forms as they relate to your case.
Investigation & Research
After the initial interview, our team gathers records (e.g. medical, employment, police records) conducts an independent investigation, interviews witnesses and obtains statements if necessary, begins to consult with expert witnesses, researches applicable statutes and laws, reviews similar cases, and researches scholarly articles. This initial work allows us to have a complete picture of the facts of your case and the legal avenues available to you.
Notification and Initial Settlement Negotiations
In some cases, we will attempt to negotiate a settlement prior to filing a lawsuit. This step is on an individual case basis as each case is unique. After finishing our initial investigation, we send notice of your claims to the appropriate parties. We will exchange information with them including medical records, police reports, proof of lost income, and any other pertinent information. We will make a settlement demand and begin negotiations.
File Complaint & Motion Practice
If we are unable to settle your personal injury claims during our initial negotiations, then we file your claim in court. A Complaint at Law officially outlines your claims of injury to the court. Defendants are required to file an appearance with the court and answer this complaint by either admitting or denying each factual allegation.
Often, instead of answering the complaint right away, the defendants will attempt to have the case dismissed from court for a variety of different reasons that are unique to each case. If this happens, the defendants will file a motion to dismiss to which we will file a written response. The defendants then file a reply after which the court will make a ruling. If we are successful, then the defendants must file their answer to your complaint.
Discovery & Depositions
After the complaint is filed and answered, the discovery portion of the case begins. During this process, the plaintiff and the defendant(s) exchange evidence of your personal injury and the circumstances surrounding it. This process can go back and forth a few times until all of the evidence has been produced.
After exchanging information and documents, we proceed with depositions. A deposition is an official, oral testimony taken down by a certified court reporter. Typically, your deposition will proceed first, followed by the defendants’ depositions. Other depositions to be taken may include: any witnesses to the incident, your family members, physicians, nurses, paramedics, police officers, and experts.
After discovery and depositions are completed, we attempt to settle the case again using the evidence we have gathered over the course of the case. There are three different ways we attempt to negotiate at this stage: (1) a settlement conference before the judge currently assigned to your case; (2) a mediation with a neutral third party (usually a retired judge); (3) or direct negotiations without the use of a third party. During this time, both sides are also preparing for trial.
During this stage, a judge or jury hears the case and witnesses testify, evidence is presented, the case decided, and a judgment entered either for or against you. You will be required to be present each day of the trial. A trial can take just a few days or several weeks depending on the number of witnesses.
After a trial, either side can appeal the jury or judge’s verdict. This final stage takes anywhere from 30 days to over two years from the date the trial verdict until you receive a final award.
You will receive regular updates from either our attorneys or staff about the status of your personal injury claims and any potential settlement opportunities. Not every personal injury case will make it to each stage as settlement opportunities can come up at any time, and each case is unique.
Together, we will seek justice above all else.
Anyone who thinks they may have been injured due to someone else’s negligence should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
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