Read on to understand all the stages of a personal injury lawsuit. At Mabis Law we guide you through every stage of your lawsuit and aim to always exceed your expectations.
Initial Consultation // The first step in any personal injury litigation is to contact an attorney that you are comfortable working with. At the initial consultation, you and an attorney will discuss the accident and the injuries you sustained. The attorney will ask about your insurance coverage and the insurance coverage of the at-fault person.
Evidence Gathering // If the attorney takes the case, the attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the case, including interviewing witnesses, gathering physical evidence, obtaining photos of the accident scene and injuries, and contacting insurance companies. The attorney may also ask you to sign a medical authorization so that he or she can obtain your medical records.
Settlement Negotiations // Prior to filing a lawsuit, we will contact the insurance company to determine whether a fair settlement can be reached. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the next step is to file a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit // The first paper that is filed with the court is called the complaint. The complaint sets forth the facts of the case and our theory of the case. After it is filed it is served on the defendant at-fault party. The defendant will then have 21 days to file a written answer to our complaint with the court.
Discovery // After the complaint and answer are filed, the lawsuit moves into the discovery phase. At this point, both sides collect information about the lawsuit through written questions called interrogatories, production of documents, and depositions. Most of the discovery is conducted by our office but you will have to answer the interrogatories which we will assist you in doing. The interrogatories just ask questions about the accident and your injury. You will also have to give a deposition where the insurance company attorney will ask you questions in person about the accident and your injuries. No worry though because we will be sitting right next to you during your deposition, making any necessary objections and taking breaks if you have any questions for us. The deposition is usually pretty straightforward and takes about an hour or so.
Facilitation or Mediation // Facilitation consists of a joint meeting between me, you, the defendant, the defense attorney and a neutral party selected by the attorneys. Both sides present their case to the neutral and the neutral tries to get both sides to settle the case. Mediation is non-binding, so neither party has to accept a settlement at that point.
Case Evaluation // Case evaluation is a process whereby the attorneys for the parties present their case in front of a three-attorney panel at the courthouse. The panel then puts a monetary number on the case that they believe should settle the case. If both parties accept that number, the case is settled. If a party rejects the case evaluation amount, that party must do 10% better at trial or risk paying the other sides attorney fees from case evaluation forward. Case evaluation is designed to get parties to settle.
Final Pre-trial and Trial // The final pre-trial (or sometimes referred to as settlement conference) is usually conducted on the eve of trial with the judge. The judge usually talks to the attorneys and the parties and tries to get the case settled. If the case doesn’t settle here, the trial is conducted.
A trial is comprised of six parts – jury selection, opening statements of the attorneys, testimony and cross-examination, closing arguments, jury instructions, and jury deliberation and verdict.
At Mabis Law we provide our clients with the best service and representation possible so that we can maximize the amount of money you receive. We will do everything in our power to meet and exceed your expectations.