Accidents will always catch up with each one of us directly or indirectly--through loved ones and friends. The options usually come down to settlements or trials. Here is a breakdown of the personal injury process to help you come to terms with the long and exhausting trial in the event that you go to court.
The Initial Court Papers
In the event of an accident resulting in your injury, an accident lawyer will have to file pleadings in a court. In the petition, the lawyer will use the information you provided him when you decided to sue. The petition will point out the parties involved and pronounce your claims. The last paragraph will demand for judgement, citing what you want--for instance damages. After filing the petition, the defendant is summoned and notified of the suit. The defendant responds to the claims and may also provide a counter claim.
Discovery is the stage where all the evidence compiled by the plaintiff and the defendant's counter claims are made in the open. Discovery is done through depositions and written discovery – acquired through filling a form with questions and document production. In depositions, you will respond to questions asked by the defendant's lawyer and vice versa. During discovery, the court's clerk writes everything, and the process is recorded.
Case Resolution Before Trial-Court Motion Or Settlement
During the discovery period, either of the lawyers involved may decide to seek the court's ruling on an issue. This is referred to as the pretrial motion. A motion that could end your case before trial is a dispositive motion, while a motion that seeks a ruling on an issue is a nondispositive motion.
Where your lawyer and the defendant's lawyer agree on the facts of the case, and there are no disputed facts, a motion for summary judgement may be filed to avoid trial. This motion may be dangerous for you, the plaintiff, so your lawyer has to present more evidence to dispute the facts and send the case to trial. Your lawyer, on the other hand, may agree to a proposal for settlement from the defendant's lawyer and thus avoid trial. Your lawyer may result to settling out of court after reviewing similar cases, and their success or failure in trial. If the defendant's lawyer offers a reasonable settlement, your lawyer may be inclined to settle out of court.
Trial And Collecting Money
If your lawyer decides to go to trial, then the first thing for the lawyers and the judge to do is select a jury. Opening statements are then made by your lawyer and the defense team. Testimonies from witnesses soon follow, then cross examination before the closing arguments are made. After the jury deliberates and a verdict is ready, the judge announces it. If your lawyer is successful you are awarded damages--a lump sum of money for the injury caused by the accident.
For more information, contact a firm such as Frisina Lawyers.