The Timeline of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury claims can be complex and time-consuming. When you get a personal injury attorney, they take on the whole litigation process for you, which involves discovery, negotiation, mediation, settlement, and trial.
For every personal injury lawsuit, there is a timeline. We’ll provide a general overview of personal injury lawsuit timelines and answer some common questions you might have.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Under the law, all states require victims to pursue legal action against those who have harmed them. Personal injury claims involve the negligent act of someone else causing harm or damage to other individuals. What constitutes negligence varies state by state.
During a lawsuit in court, a personal injury lawyer will represent you before a judge or jury and take testimony from witnesses who saw what happened. Personal injury lawyers will handle filing motions to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Most personal injury lawsuits require a plaintiff to prove three things;
- That they suffered damages from the incident
- That the defendant’s negligence caused these damages
- That the defendant had the opportunity to prevent the damages
Depending on the type of injury and the circumstances surrounding the incident, victims may be eligible for various types of damages, including medical bills and lost wages.
How Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Work?
The first steps before filing a personal injury lawsuit involves getting medical attention and an experienced attorney. You should seek out any injuries immediately after being injured at work or elsewhere.
Once you have received proper medical care, your attorney can gather what’s necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused your accident. The attorney will also review the law and be available to answer your questions.
The factors that determine how long a personal injury lawsuit will take include:
- Whether or not you have insurance
- What type of injuries you sustained
- Whether you have legal representation
1. Discovery Phase
In personal injury lawsuits, the discovery phase may last between 60-180 days. Both parties gather evidence and information about each other’s case at this stage. It is also known as pre-trial litigation.
During this stage, you should gather information regarding the defendant’s insurance coverage, medical records, and any witness statements taken by the police. It helps to determine if they have enough financial resources to pay you what you deserve.
2. Settlement and Mediation
Mediation is a way for the two sides to find a settlement out of court instead of going to trial. If mediation fails, each party will have 30 calendar days to file a motion with the court asking them to accept or reject the settlement negotiated during the mediation session.
If the settlement is rejected, the lawsuit moves to trial. However, if the settlement is accepted, the paperwork must be signed and filed with the clerk’s office.
You can file a motion for summary judgment if you do not settle before the deadline. It means that the trial court will decide whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law without going to trial.
If there is no dispute over the facts, the judge may grant summary judgment in favor of the moving party. When there is a dispute of fact, the court will issue a ruling after holding a hearing. This decision may affect the number of damages awarded.
After the judge decides the case, they send the decision to the plaintiffs and defendants’ attorneys. Each side gets 30 days to appeal the decision.
3. Pre-Trial Conference
This conference aims to select a jury, set a trial date, and ensure that the judge has everything they need to hear the case. In addition to setting a trial date, the parties decide whether the case will go before a judge alone or a jury. Most cases go to a jury trial.
The judge decides whether to postpone the case due to scheduling conflicts. They also decide on the hearing of any motions filed in the case. If the case proceeds to trial, the parties give opening statements to the judge and jury, where applicable.
4. Trial Phase
During this phase, the lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant present their arguments to the jury. Afterwards, both sides give closing arguments and ask the jury questions about the presented law.
Depending on which side gets the favorable verdict, the other party pays them. After the trial, the judge writes their opinion based on the jury instructions given during the trial.
5. Appealing the Decision
If a side disagrees with the results of their case, they can appeal the decision to a higher court. They will request a rehearing to provide additional evidence or testimony previously not considered by the court. After the rehearing, the judge can make a different ruling.
Where Do You Find Information About a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you have sustained injuries due to the fault of others, it is essential that you seek medical care right away. Your medical records will hold valuable information about the accident and are an excellent place to start looking for clues about your lawsuit.
What are The Typical Damages Awarded to Victims of Personal Injury?
In a personal injury case, the victim can seek monetary compensation in addition to other forms of relief. Typical remedies include:
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
- Non-economic losses and costs
- Emotional distress damages
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Attorney fees
Get Legal Guidance for Personal Injury Lawsuits
Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated, time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. You probably want justice if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness to get compensation for your injuries.
Our lawyers at LA Century Law have extensive experience working on behalf of accident victims seeking compensation for personal injuries. It is always best to speak to an attorney before making any decisions about your case since there could be legal implications if you act without counsel. Contact us for a free consultation today.