We have already discussed a couple of the things you can do after an accident that could help your case in a personal injury lawsuit. However, as we stated at the beginning of the week, these cases can take many months, often years, to resolve. For instance, there are a number of preliminary steps your Cincinnati injury attorney will need to take before your case goes to trial—or may even eliminate the need for a trial. After you have settled on legal representation, here are some of the stages you may have to go through before ever stepping foot in the courtroom:
- Pleadings — The first document filed in a lawsuit is the Complaint or Petition, which is given to the defendant in addition to being served a Summons. The defendant will respond to the Complaint with an Answer and possibly a Counterclaim (which would lead to your attorney filing a Reply to Counterclaim). A defendant could also file a Third-party Complaint that passes the liability off to another person or entity.
- Discovery — This can be an incredibly lengthy, expensive and frustrating part of the process, but the point of discovery is to eliminate any surprises in a lawsuit. The process can involve written discovery such as interrogatories or requests for admission, document production regarding the disclosure of all documents relevant to the case and sworn depositions.
- Court Motions — Some pretrial motions such as a Motion to Dismiss, Summary Judgment Motion or Motion for Default Judgment can end your case before it even reaches trial.
- Settlement — Typically your lawyer and the defendant’s attorney will exchange settlement offers and counter-offers. Again, this can be a lengthy process, but it is not uncommon for both parties to arrive at an agreement on a sum of money that eliminates the risk of going to trial.
While some of these stages can eliminate the need for a trial, tomorrow we will discuss what you can expect if indeed your case ends up getting to that point.