Once you have decided to file a lawsuit, there are several steps you must follow. This includes filing a petition, service of an answer, setting a trial date, and attempting to resolve your case through mediation. Depending on your case, you may need to hire a legal professional to assist you through this process. If you do not have a legal professional to represent you, consider reading this article on the basics of filing a lawsuit.
Filing A Petition
Filing a personal injury lawsuit begins with filing a complaint. This document lays out the specific facts that the plaintiff claims led to the injury and how much money the plaintiff is seeking. It will describe the nature and cause of the injury and the court’s jurisdiction. The defendant has 30 days to respond to the complaint by filing an “answer,” which explains whether they deny or agree with the allegations contained in the complaint.
The next step is to file a summons. The summons contains information about the plaintiff and defendant and is identified by a docket number. The summons serves as a formal notification of the complaint. It also specifies the deadline for the defendant to respond to the complaint, and if the defendant fails to do so, it is “in default.”
The complaint also contains a prayer for relief, which outlines the action the plaintiff wants the court to order the defendant to take. This prayer provides the defendant with necessary information regarding the plaintiff’s claims and can help them prepare for the trial. The court will decide whether to allow the plaintiff’s case to proceed and may order a trial date. In some cases, filing a petition in bankruptcy will prevent the plaintiff from recovering any damages and will require the defendant to hire a lawyer to fight the case.
Service and Answer
The Defendant must file a written answer to the plaintiff’s complaint within a certain time period. The answer must be filed by 10:00 a.m. on the first Monday following the expiration of twenty days. Failure to do so may result in a default judgment. It is important to remember that your lawsuit cannot proceed without proof of service.
Set a Trial Date
When a trial date is set, the parties can begin their preparation for the trial. Trials can take as little as a day or three weeks. Once a lawsuit has been filed, the attorneys involved will begin the discovery process. During this phase, the parties will collect evidence and testimony. During this phase, attorneys will investigate the accident to find out what happened and gather any evidence that supports their claim. If they find anything against the claim, they’ll submit the case to the jury for consideration. The trial date will be set based on these findings.
Attempting to Resolve Case via Mediation
It is a neutral third party who is paid by the parties to help the parties reach an agreement. Unlike a judge or jury, the mediator’s decision is not legally binding. This makes mediation an attractive option for some plaintiffs and defendants.
Most judges require mediation before a contested hearing. Also, most parties agree to mediation before trial, so there’s no reason to skip it. Alternatively, parties may choose to participate in mediation on their own. Whether or not the parties agree to it depends on their circumstances and goals. Attempting to resolve the case via mediation can help both sides reach an agreement. The process is time-consuming and stressful, but it is well worth it.
Jury Selection and Trial
The jury selection and trial in a personal injury lawsuit begin with the voir dire process. A judge will ask prospective jurors basic questions about their ability to serve. If they cannot answer questions honestly, the judge can excuse them from the jury. This process is critical because the jury’s final decision can affect the outcome of your case. In addition, a jury can be biased.
First, a juror must be qualified and have some knowledge of the law. The law varies by state, so it is essential to understand the requirements in your state. Many personal injury lawsuits require a unanimous jury, but some states allow verdicts by a majority. The jury may not be neutral, and if they are, a mistrial will result. If a mistrial occurs, the case will be dismissed, and the plaintiff will have to go through a jury selection again.
Is this how all personal injury claims are handled?
The insurance company may contact the injured party. The insurance company’s claim adjusters employ a variety of tactics in their fight against personal injury claims. These professionals work to protect the insurance company’s interests, not yours. As a result, it is crucial to be aware of these tactics. They fight personal injury claims because they have a strong financial interest in protecting their profit margin. Without the help of a lawyer, you could lose your legal rights and benefit. Fortunately, you don’t have to face this dilemma alone.
A personal injury lawyer will interview you to determine what caused the accident and what medical treatments you received afterward. They will request medical bills and records relating to the accident, which could span months. The insurance company knows that if you delay the claim, it may result in a statute of limitations defense. Insurance companies also refuse to settle claims that involve less severe injuries. It is vital to have a qualified attorney handle your claim to avoid this.
Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury lawsuit can result in a settlement or court verdict, depending on which side is at fault for the accident. If it is a legal one, the verdict may not always be in your favor. However, if you are the injured party, there are always opportunities to appeal the decision. If you have suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you may have grounds for an appeal.
While most cases settle before trial, you should still ask if the attorney has tried cases in court. Many laypeople do not think to ask this question before hiring a personal injury lawyer. In addition, an attorney with experience in going to trial will make the attorney able to point out unique issues in your case. If your personal injury attorney has an excellent track record at trial, you will know that they can successfully litigate your case.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is essential to receive fair compensation. You will have to establish that a party caused your injuries and that outside factors contributed to the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will know which parties share the blame and how to proceed to get the most compensation for your injuries. Your attorney will also know how to deal with insurance companies, often trying to avoid paying a fair settlement amount for severe injury cases.