You may or may not need to litigate your case. If you are satisfied with the results of the negotiation phase, then there is no need to pursue litigation. But if your claim doesn’t get resolved, then we will continue to fight for your rights by initiating a legal proceeding in the court system.
Torts are civil actions, and therefore your case will be litigated in a civil court of law. Your role as the injured party is to become a plaintiff in the action. Litigation involves filing complaint against the defendant tortfeasor, participating in discovery, and presenting your case at trial before a judge and jury.
A pleading is a formal written statement filed with the civil court that explains the cause of action or defense in a case. A civil case begins when a plaintiff files a pleading against the defendant stating how the defendant’s conduct injured him or her. This pleading is called a complaint. A defendant usually responds to this complaint by filing an answer stating his or her defenses or denials to the allegations. Pleadings are important because they provide notice to the defendant that they are being sued.
To obtain the witnesses and evidence which each party believes will be beneficial to their case, both sides participate in a process known as discovery. During discovery the parties learn about the opponent’s case by requesting relevant documents and interviewing people related to the case. Discovery can be acquired through requests to answers to interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, or by taking depositions.
Interrogatories are written questions that the opposing party must answer in writing under oath. Requests for productions search for materials related to the claim. Requests for admissions are written statements that ask a party to admit or deny a claim or fact associated with the litigation. Depositions are interviews given under oath that are conducted in a court reporter’s presence. If a party objects to providing a particular discovery request, then the requesting party may need to file a motion with the court to compel the other side to answer their questions.
Mediation is an informal and confidential way of resolving your lawsuit. At mediation, all of the parties meet to discuss the case with a neutral third party, known as mediator. The mediator is impartial and does not decide who is right or wrong. Instead, the mediator is trained to work with each side to find points of agreement and reach a fair result.
Often, the civil court will order the parties to attend mediation because it wants the parties to settle the case. Mediation is also cheaper and faster than going to trial and allows each party to present their case in a more relaxed manner.
After you file the complaint, a trial judge typically holds a pretrial conference outlining the proceedings. At this conference, the parties and the judge generally agree on which issues are in dispute, eliminate frivolous claims or defenses, identify whom they intend to call as witnesses, announce what evidence will be introduced at trial, and assign schedules to submit pretrial briefs and motions. The trial judge will also rule on motions submitted before the conference, or schedule additional conferences if needed.
Your case may not have to go to trial in order for you to get money for your injuries. Your case could be resolved at any point. Sometimes, just talking to the tortfeasor is enough for them to pay you what they owe. Other times, it becomes clear during discovery that the other side was wrong. Or the civil court may rule in your favor at some point during the trial proceedings and the other side decides it is easier to resolve the case than fight the ruling. Every case is different, but the goal is the same—to make sure you get paid for your injuries.
Our goal is to make sure that you get the most money possible for your injuries. Your recovery is more than just a net sum, and we want to guarantee that you will be financially secure for a long time. We do a lot of things to make this possible, such as negotiate and resolve liens, negotiate discounts with medical providers, structure settlements, and create special needs trusts, Medicare trusts, or Medicaid trusts.
The tort system can be a long and complicated process. However, it is our job and our responsibility to make this process as smooth as possible during this challenging time. Rest assured that we will work tirelessly to investigate your claim, negotiate and attempt to resolve the matter, and litigate your case to the fullest.