This is a common question, and one you’re very likely asking yourself if you’ve been injured and considering hiring a personal injury attorney.
Though every case is different, in a general sense here is an overview of what you can expect in the process of a personal injury lawsuit.
- 1. Retaining your attorney. As a straightforward first step, this is what happens after you’ve had a conversation with an attorney and decided to hire them to represent you for your personal injury lawsuit. During this initial stage you’ll go over your situation with your attorney, they will ask questions, and together you’ll establish the strength of your case.
- 2. Beginning the claim process and filing the lawsuit with the court. Your personal injury attorney will formally submit your claim with the court, involving the summons and complaint. This is where the actual lawsuit begins.
- 3. Discovery process. After the party you are suing is officially aware of the lawsuit, both parties enter discovery. This is where each party exchanges the information that will be used in the lawsuit, including evidence and witnesses. This is also where depositions happen, where any person willing to testify on your behalf against your opponent, or in defense of your opponent, is recorded making their official statement and answering questions related to the case.
- 4. Court conferences. These meetings typically only involve the lawyers you do not need to be present. The lawyers meet to discuss the result of the discovery process and determine the strength of the case, as well as anticipate whether going to trial will be necessary. When our case is strong enough, which is the majority of the time, we typically reach a favorable settlement at this stage without having to go to trial.
- 5. Trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, or if the settlement offer from your opponent is not acceptable, the case then goes to trial. This involves courtroom time, presenting the case before a judge, and eventually calling witnesses to testify respectively about the case.
Our track record at Smiley & Smiley, LLP has been that 95% of our negligence cases reach a favorable settlement without going to trial.
That means an efficient outcome you can put your trust in.
Getting a trial date for your case when discovery has been completed may take 6 months or even several years. Trials can be 6 months or years. No one wants to be tied up with that, particularly when you’ve been seriously injured.
You want fair compensation for your suffering, and you want to move on with your life. We get it.
And with us, you only pay if you win.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally 3 years from the date of your injury.