When a person gets injured, physically or emotionally, due to the action of another person, then he can initiate legal action against him and file a personal injury lawsuit. Resolution of these lawsuits can take a long time, since there are many phases involved in it.
A person should record and document as much information as he can about the accident he’s been in. It is crucial that he preserves pictures and videos of the scene after the accident so that he can have an evidence to back his claim. Contact information of any witnesses of the accident must be properly kept. For the purpose of calculation of damages’ amount, detailed documentation is imperative.
The next step would be consulting an attorney who will guide you on how to collect evidence and document your injuries in detail. Signing any documents or speaking with the other person’s attorney must be avoided without your attorney’s consultation. Your attorney will send a demand letter to the other person, his attorney or his insurance agency to stating the case facts, your injury and the compensation amount you want as settlement.
If no settlement takes place, then the plaintiff/you will file a lawsuit. The defendant gets about 20 to 30 days to reply to the complaint served to him by a third party. Once the lawsuit is filed, the parties can exchange information with each other by requesting documents or in the form of written questions or testimonies.
Before a case goes to trial the attorneys try for a settlement conference with a judge. Other than this, mediation of a case in the presence of a mediator is also referred before trial. A trial can take place before a judge or jury or by arbitration.
Arbitration and trial are almost similar, but arbitration either happens before an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators. If parties are agreed to arbitration, they need to submit some contracts.
If the plaintiff or defendant feels that the trial had some legal error, then they can make an appeal to a higher court to have a review of the errors they think were made by the judge or jury. This might include unfair payment of damages or incorrect admission of evidence.
After completion of the lawsuit, the plaintiff has to collect damages from the defendant. Usually, the plaintiff names more than one defendant to avoid the possibility of non-payment of damages by a defendant who cannot pay damages. If the defendants don’t pay, then the plaintiff is allowed by court to find his assets and collect maximum possible damages.