If you or somebody you care about sustains an injury caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of somebody else, you should be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, the personal injury lawsuit process can seem confusing. Indeed, the legal aspects and investigation into an incident can be complex. However, it is strongly recommended that all injury victims work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can help guide them through every aspect of their case. Here, we want to discuss some of the most pertinent information that you need to know about the personal injury lawsuit process.
Keep deadlines in mind
One of the most important factors you need to keep in mind concerning personal injury cases is the time frame with which you have to file a claim. The Colorado personal injury statute of limitations depends on where the injury occurred (premises liability or a motor vehicle accident.) This means that injury victims have a limited window with which to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party. Failing to file a lawsuit within this timeframe could result in the victim being unable to recover any compensation at all. You will want to discuss with your attorney about the specifics of your statute of limitations.
The initial consultation
You will have an initial consultation with your lawyer where the details of your case will be discussed, including the nature of the accident and the extent of your injuries. The lawyer will ask you a series of questions, and you will have a chance to ask the lawyer questions as well.
Filing court documents
Once you decide to go with an attorney for your case, the attorney will file court documents and serve the complaint as well as all other required documents. You will become the plaintiff in the case, and the other party will become the defendant.
The discovery process
After both parties in the lawsuit serve and file initial documents, they will enter into the discovery phase. This is the formal evidence exchanging process for the personal injury case. During discovery, your attorney will send a list of questions to the defendant’s attorney. Your attorney will also submit a request for documents from the other party. The attorney for the other side will do the same. Both attorneys may take depositions of any witnesses that are pertinent to the case
Pretrial motions and hearings
Attorneys will often use pretrial motions in an effort to compel the other side to provide evidence. These motions may also work towards resolving a case before it goes to trial. This could involve motions to dismiss based on a lack of evidence or a motion for summary judgment, which means that the facts of the case are undisputed, and a judge should grant immediate relief. Various motions may or may not be successful.
Attorneys from both sides will often engage in negotiations throughout the entirety of this process. This is done in an effort to resolve the matter before going to trial. In some cases, both parties may use a third-party mediator in an effort to reach a fair agreement.
If the case is not settled through negotiations, a trial date will be set. A trial typically involves two phases. First, the jury will hear the evidence and listen to witnesses in order to determine whether or not the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Second, if the jury finds the defendant liable, the jury will determine the amount of damages to be awarded to the plaintiff.
Collecting your judgment or settlement
Finally, the last phase of this process will be the plaintiff collecting the settlement or judgment amount if their case was successful.