Of course, an injury of some type is at the heart of any legitimate personal injury lawsuit. No lawsuit will go far without some proof of the plaintiff’s injury, no matter how questionable the defendant’s liability or the degree of the plaintiff’s losses may be.
Suppose it appears that the plaintiff has a case after the initial consultation. In that case, the attorney may agree to pursue an exploratory investigation, including determining if the defendant has appropriate insurance and adequate assets to fund any settlement or judgment. If the attorney concludes that the case is plausible after the consultation and investigation, a fee agreement will be signed, and the attorney-client relationship will be formalized.
The plaintiff’s attorney will file a personal injury complaint in the appropriate civil court after showing a valid case. The complaint is the case’s first official document, and it lays out the plaintiff’s allegations in great detail (what the defendant did, how the plaintiff was harmed, etc.).
During the pre-trial phase known as “discovery,” both sides would ask each other for evidence and witness information. Both sides will appear in court in the early phases of the case to update the judge on how the case is progressing, agreeing (or not agreeing) to mediation or arbitration, and to set a trial date. As the discovery process progresses, both parties will begin scheduling depositions of the opposing party and witnesses, which are sworn question-and-answer sessions.
The majority of personal injury cases are settled before going to trial. Even before the complaint is filed, the parties might settle and end the lawsuit at any stage along the process detailed above. Learn more about the process of negotiating a personal injury settlement and how to receive the best deal.
If you’re considering taking a personal injury case to court, it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney about your circumstances (and the best course of action). Learn how to choose the best personal injury attorney for you and your case.