Once you have filed a personal injury lawsuit, there is still much to do before your claim settles or goes to trial. A lawyer is there to do the majority of the work for you. However, there are still things that you must help your personal injury lawyer with in order for your case to be as successful as possible.
Once your lawsuit has been filed, both sides begin preparing their cases. The defendant will send your lawyer some written questions, called interrogatories. Interrogatories can ask anything that concerns your case and often include very detailed questions. They can ask about your personal history, your employment history, your medical history, more information about your injuries, your medical bills, and anything else they might think is important.
It’s likely you will need to help your lawyer answer these questions. You need to be as truthful and complete in your answers as possible. Your personal injury attorney will also be sending interrogatories to the defendant, asking them many of the same questions.
After all of this paperwork has been filled out, the next step is depositions. A deposition is an oral statement given by you, the defendant, and any other key witnesses in the case. It is done under oath. Depositions in a personal injury case are used by both your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer to ask questions and get clarifications about the case. These questions help everyone understand the case better and see potential weaknesses in their side of the case. Depositions are usually videotaped and recorded by a court reporter.
Depositions are important for your case, but can feel intimidating. Your attorney will walk you through what’s going to happen in a deposition before it occurs. A good personal injury lawyer will also be at your side during the deposition, asking you to tell your side of the story as honestly and completely as you can.
After the interrogatories and depositions are completed, both sides will have a better understanding of the case. Direct negotiations to settle your case begin to happen between your attorney and the defense’s attorney. It’s likely at this point you’ll proceed to a mediation.
A mediation is a meeting between the two sides of a personal injury case and a neutral third-party mediator. This mediator is hired to help the plaintiff and the defense reach an agreement about your case. They do not influence the case either way. They only try to help the two parties agree on a settlement by suggesting different resolutions.
You will be present at the mediation and will voice your opinion on any solutions suggested by the mediator. You do not have to settle your case if you believe what the defendant is offering is not fair. However, the majority of claims are successfully resolved at this point. Your attorney will discuss your options with you, but you make the final decision.
If you cannot reach an agreement with the defense at mediation, your case will proceed to a trial by jury. At the trial, both sides will present their arguments to a jury. You will be required to give your testimony in front of the jury. This involves answering questions from your attorney and the defense’s attorney, similar to the deposition process. Your attorney will prepare you for testifying before the trial begins.
After both sides complete their case, the jury will gather together and discuss a verdict in your case. Once the verdict has been reached and announced, your personal injury lawsuit is over, whether you have won or lost.
At any time during this process, you may be contacted by your attorney with questions they may have about your case. Be sure you’re as truthful and thorough with your answers as possible. These insights will help your attorney do the best possible job they can on your case.
If you have further questions on what you need to do after you file a lawsuit, call us at 1-319-774-1542 or visit our website, FightingForFairness.com.