Steps, Timeline & Stages in a Personal Injury Claim Lawsuit
Injured woman in the United States. Image Source:

Even though accidents and injuries can occur in many forms, however, the basic stages of a personal injury lawsuit remain consistent.

Discovery Tools

The phase before the trial begins is known as the “discovery phase” in all lawsuits. It is a process that allows both sides to obtain relevant facts from the opposing sides. This reduces probable surprises during the trial and allows each side to prepare better for the case. This includes written discovery, document production and depositions.

Written discovery involves interrogatories and requests for admission. Interrogatories are questions that require your narration of facts and claims in the case. These can be in pre-printed “form” or “special” interrogatories which are specific to your given case. The other type of written discovery requests for admission. This essentially asks a person to admit or deny certain facts with respect to the case. Thus broadly putting it, there are certain limits to how many interrogatories and requests for admission each side is allowed to ask.

The process of production of document is when each side asks the other side to produce relevant documents to the case. These documents vary depending on the nature of the case but may include anything from business records to medical records. With advancement in technology, courts have stated allowing computer files as a part of document discovery.

Depositions: In a deposition, a person under oath answers an attorney’s questions and a court reporter makes a transcript of the conversation that takes places during the deposition. Several reason exists to depose someone and every attorney has their unique strategy for depositions. Depositions are most commonly done to bind a person to their version of the story and cross-check it with what the other party says and to observe how a witness appears and conducts him/herself during a trial.

Personal Injury Trial

During a trial, a jury or judge examines the evidence and decide if the defendant could be held legally responsible for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. The trial provides plaintiff an opportunity to present his/her case to obtain a judgment against the defendant. It also provides defendant the chance to rebut plaintiff’s case. A personal injury trial consists of the following procedures:

  1. Selection of a jury
  2. Opening statements of the plaintiff and defendant
  3. Witness testimony and cross-examination
  4. Closing arguments of both parties
  5. Jury instructions by the judge
  6. July deliberation and verdict.

However several personal injury cases get resolved on a pre-trial stage through negotiations, alternative dispute resolution or dismissal of the case.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured and believe that someone else is responsible for the injuries caused, it would be advisable for you to contact a personal injury attorney and discuss you further legal options. To make sure you don’t exceed the limitation period for filing a lawsuit, a lawyer could be your best help.

Originally posted 2017-07-15 00:06:04.


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