If you or somebody you know sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, company, or entity, you will likely be entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. However, securing this compensation can be challenging. In some cases, injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, it is not uncommon for injury claims to result in personal injury lawsuits that go to court. Here, we want to discuss the personal injury timeline, from the initial filing of a claim all the way through to a possible jury trial.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Civil Court
Personal injury lawsuits will typically only be filed if the insurance carriers or the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement amount or if they deny the claim altogether. The first step that occurs will be to file a personal injury lawsuit in Colorado civil court. By the time a personal injury lawsuit is filed, there will likely have already been a few months of back and forth with the insurance carriers. However, it is certainly possible to file a personal injury lawsuit right away after an injury occurs. Each injury case is different, and a skilled injury lawyer will be able to help determine the best steps moving forward.
Going Through the Discovery Process
After a personal injury lawsuit is filed in civil court, the discovery process will start. This is the part of the lawsuit where attorneys for the plaintiff (the injury victim) and the defendant (the alleged at-fault party) will exchange evidence with one another so that every party is operating with the same information. At this point, investigations will still continue, and any new information obtained by either side will be turned over to the other party. It is also not uncommon during the discovery phase for attorneys for the plaintiff or the defendant to ask for witnesses to sit for depositions.
During the discovery phase, one party or the other may discover that they have a strong case or a relatively weak case. This could lead to a settlement offer from one side or the desire to drop the case altogether. However, that does not always occur. The discovery process can take some time to conclude.
Possible Mediation Between The Parties
In an effort to help the plaintiff in the defendant reach a conclusion before a trial becomes necessary, a judge may order the parties to go through mediation. Mediation will typically be conducted by a neutral third party, usually a former judge or an experienced lawyer. Mediations will not usually take very long after they begin, and their ultimate goal is to produce a successful resolution. However, that does not always occur.
Going to a Personal Injury Trial
The last step in a personal injury case will be to take the claim to a trial by jury. There is no way to determine exactly how long it will take for a case to end up on the docket to be heard by a jury. This could take anywhere from several months to several years. After the trial begins, attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant will have a chance to discuss the evidence in front of a jury and to call witnesses to help back their case up. A jury will be responsible for determining whether or not the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries as well as the total amount of money the defendant should pay the plaintiff.