Do you need an attorney? Whether you were involved in a catastrophic car collision, a slip and fall accident, or suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, below are some things to expect during the process.
Prior to filing a lawsuit, it is important to determine who is responsible for the injuries you have suffered. If you were involved in a car accident, we must determine the drivers and owners of the other vehicles involved. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, the owner of the property along with any tenant or contractor responsible for the condition must be determined.
Once the responsible parties have been identified, generally a claim letter is sent indicating that you were injured in an accident and that a claim will be made for personal injuries. Sometimes, parties are able to resolve the dispute prior to filing a lawsuit. Otherwise, a lawsuit must be filed to pursue the claims in court.
Your attorney will prepare a complaint which alleges the facts which led to the injuries. The complaint details the parties involved, the occurrence, and the damages suffered.
Once the lawsuit is filed, the discovery process can begin. Discovery can take the form of paper discovery such as written questions and answers and later takes the form of depositions. During a deposition, the attorneys in the case have an opportunity to question parties and witnesses. The individuals being deposed are under the same oath they take when they are before a judge and jury. During a deposition, an individual swears to tell the truth under penalty of perjury.
Throughout the discovery phase, your attorney will need your cooperation to respond to written discovery demands. It is essential that you listen to your attorney and provide the necessary documents and responses to the demands from opposing counsel.
Either party may make motions to the court seeking relief. Defendants often make a motion for summary judgment in an attempt to dismiss personal injury complaints. These motions can be based on a variety of factors. The opposing party has an opportunity to file papers in response to the motion in an attempt to defeat the motion. This process generally takes time and may push back any potential trial date.
What is the expected time table for my case?
At any point and time, the parties are free to engage in settlement discussions. If a case does not settle, it will proceed through the court system until it arrives at the trial stage.
This will depend on a variety of factors but you should understand that litigation is a lengthy process. An open line of communication with your attorney is important so that you can obtain case updates throughout the process.
After a trial, if there is a verdict in your favor, steps will need to be taken to collect on that judgment. Therefore, as the plaintiff, if you win, it may take additional time to collect the verdict, assuming that the defendant has the ability and the assets to make the payment. Additionally, a party may appeal any part of or all of the verdict. This can result in additional delays in the case.
If you have been injured and would like to speak to an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 212-353-8700.