At Ledger & Associates, we like to think of our relationship with each and every client as a partnership. Whether it is a negligent auto accident lawsuit, a complicated traumatic brain injury claim or a multi-party wrongful death legal proceeding our lawyers and our clients all want the same thing: legal and financial justice! Over the years we have found that the more involved our clients are, the more aggressively our attorneys can deploy our considerable legal skills. With this in mind, we do like to keep clients abreast of all that transpires over the life of their legal action. Like all areas of the law, no two personal injury claims or lawsuits are the same. The nature of the accident, the negligence, the parties themselves and of course the law itself bear on what type of case is filed and how the steps are executed. However, there is a common framework for what is involved and while a lot of it is legal-speak, we’ve tried to pare it down into some simple steps:
The complaint is filed: After our attorneys have worked with our client and determined that an action will be brought, a complaint is filed with the appropriate court(s). This starts the legal process and makes it a part of the public record that further actions may follow.
The complaint is served to the defendant(s): The complaint (and a summons to appear) serves notice to the potentially negligent party that an action, and what type of legal action, is being sought. For instance, if a loved one died in a negligent auto accident, the complaint may inform the negligent party that a “wrongful death lawsuit” is being brought against them. This step puts the defendant – the negligent party – that our attorneys, and our client, means business and are serious about pursuing the legal and financial justice they deserve.
The defendant either responds to the complaint or they don’t: Usually, the defendant who we have served the complaint to has 30 days to respond. Now, they can respond any way they see fit. They may agree to appear and that the action is valid, they may challenge the complaint itself or file additional actions with the court to further complicate the proceedings. Its here that our attorneys really lean on their experience and start to strategize based upon the defendant’s actions and reactions.
The court hears challenges to the motion: This part of the process does not always apply. However, if the defendant challenges the initial complaint, the court itself would hear those challenges.
The discovery process: Once the case has gone through the complaint process and both parties move forward, the discovery process is undertaken. This is the part of the process where the events, facts and individuals involved with the case will be “discovered.” Discovery may include: written questions which must be answered under oath, demands for production of documents by the parties involved, agreement or denial of allegations and/or documents subpoenaed from 3rd parties such as manufacturers, medical records, police reports etc.
Discovery motions: If the defendant fails comply with discovery requests, our lawyers may make additional motions in court to compel them to oblige to the discovery requests.
Trial setting: Once both plaintiff and defendant have the information they need to move to the trial phase, a trial date is set and the court readies itself to hear the case and make a ruling.
Settlement negotiations: In some cases, settlement negotiations commence as soon as the original complaint is filed. There is a particular strategy involved throughout, with the goal being to maximize the settlement our attorneys earn for our clients. In some cases the court, or the judge, will require the plaintiff and defendant to try and settle before it goes to trial. In others, there is either a voluntary or mandatory arbitration hearing where a 3rd party hears the facts of the case and tries to have both sides settle. If none of these steps are involved, or if they are unsatisfactory, then the case will proceed to the trial phase.
The trial itself: Statistically, a majority of cases settle before it reaches the trial phase. But, if the parties cannot settle the case, the only way to resolve the issues is by way of trial.
Again, the above is simply an outline of the basic steps involved. If, or when, your negligent personal injury case moves forward with Ledger & Associates you will soon discover that not only are no two cases the same, but that no two law firms are the same.
Thank you for visiting our site and for considering Ledger & Associates.