By: Rocio Gosewehr
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Personal Injury Lawyer Explains: What Happens in a Litigation Case?
If you have been hurt in an accident, Dallas personal injury attorney Sean Chalaki can help you as you attempt to recover compensation for your losses, which can include expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and even pain and suffering.
In the majority of cases, a settlement will be reached outside of the courtroom. However, there are some cases where a fair settlement cannot be reached out of court and therefore must move into litigation. Litigation is the resolution of disputes through the court system.
What happens in litigation?
Litigation basically consists of four main stages: (1) information gathering, (2) pleading, (3) discovery and motions and (4) trial and post-trial proceedings.
The first stage of litigation is information gathering. Before filing a lawsuit, your attorney will spend time with you gathering all the information necessary to build your case. For example, if your case involves a car accident, information will be gathered about all drivers involved. Also part of the information gathering is finding out the extent of your injuries and how they will impact you and your life.
After sufficient facts are gathered, the lawsuit will begin by filing a complaint. The complaint, along with a summons to appear in court, is served to the defendant—the party responsible for your injuries.
After the defendant has been served with the lawsuit, the defendant has a specific amount of time to officially respond to the lawsuit. If the defendant believes there is a particular problem with the lawsuit, such as the facts are insufficient to justify the lawsuit or there is some other defect with the complaint, the defendant can file a motion. A “motion” is a request to the court for an order or a ruling. For example, the defendant could file a motion to dismiss, asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit altogether.
If the defendant does not file a motion or if the motion is denied, then the defendant will answer the complaint. The “answer” is the defendant’s response to the lawsuit’s allegations. Once the defendant files the answer, then the pleading stage is complete.
Discovery and Motions
The third stage is the discovery and motions phase. Both sides conduct interviews and share facts and information regarding the case. During this stage, there could also be pre-trial motions made to the court. These motions can include any number of things such as asking the court to enter a judgment in the case without an actual trial. If the case ends up settling before it goes to trial, it will usually be during this phase.
Trial and Post-Trial Proceedings
The final stage of litigation is the trial and post-trial proceedings. In the trial, both sides of the case have the opportunity to present and argue their cases in front of a judge and/or jury. After arguments are presented, a verdict is reached and handed down. Post-trial proceedings can include an appeal from the losing party. To win the appeal, the losing party must prove there was an error in the court that affected the outcome of the case.
Litigation can be very complicated. If you or a loved one has been injured, Dallas personal injury lawyer Sean Chalaki can help you navigate the complex waters of personal injury law. Contact Sean Chalaki at the Law Office of Sean Chalaki at 972-793-8500.