If you've suffered a personal injury, you probably have a lot of questions about what happens if you decide to sue the person or company responsible for your suffering. This is a difficult and scary time for you, and an understanding of how your case will proceed will help you feel at ease.
After suffering a personal injury, you should have an initial consultation with an attorney. Because personal injury laws are very complicated, you need to have an experienced, knowledgeable Michigan personal injury attorney look at your whole case and explain to you your options. Your attorney will tell you whether or not your case is viable and what the outcome could be should you decide to proceed with a lawsuit. This includes determining if the statute of limitations has run on your case.
What Does Contingency Mean?
Most, if not all, personal injury cases are taken on a contingency basis. This means that your attorney will collect a portion of your award once the case has come to fruition. You will still be responsible for fees, including filing fees, but you will not pay your attorney until you receive your award.
There is no guarantee what your award will be. Each case is unique in circumstances and your attorney will not have a set amount that you will be awarded.
Investigation and Discovery
Once you have decided to proceed with a lawsuit, your attorney will gather information on your case. This includes medical records and other data about your personal injury. Your attorney will work to assess the maximum value of your case.
Because you will probably continue to receive medical care during this portion of your case, your attorney will collect the most recent medical information on your recovery. If you have returned to work, or if you are on leave, your attorney will gather that current information as well.
During this process, your attorney will use his experience to determine whether to settle a case or continuing to trail. If your attorney determines that it is best to go to trial, then the discovery process begins. This means that each side examines the information the opposing party has available. It will also mean that you will have to answer questions during a deposition. Your attorney will be present for the deposition, and you must answer honestly and truthfully.
What Does Settling a Case Mean?
Settlement means that both sides have researched the information that they and the opposing counsel have gathered and decided not to pursue litigation. The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved through settlement.
During the investigation process, both the plaintiff and the defendant are required by law to exchange information they have acquired. There are issues of privilege and confidentiality, but most information is shared. This serves many purposes, including allowing both sides to weigh the merits of their side of the case and decide if settlement is a better option than litigation.
If both parties decide to settle, each negotiates the best resolution for his or her client.
What Happens if My Case Goes to Trial?
If settlement talks break down, or if a fair and reasonable settlement offer is not made and accepted by you, then your attorney will be prepared to go to trial and seek a fair and reasonable Judgment form a Jury of your peers.
Trials are a long process, sometimes lasting years. This is because there is so much information to be gathered and reviewed, so many expert and lay [non-expert] witnesses to interview, and a case strategy to be created and implemented.
Your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. You will be assigned a judge for the duration of your case. You will either present your case to that judge or to the judge and a jury.
Once the trial is underway, there is still the opportunity to settle the case before it reaches jury deliberations. If a settlement is not reached, then the jury takes the information presented in court and reviews it and comes to a decision. The jury will determine whether your case had merit and, if so, what your award will be. The judge will then order the opposing party to pay the award and do so within a certain amount of time.
Contact us today.
If you have recently suffered a personal injury, contact the Law Office of Patrick L. Chatterton today. Patrick Chatterton has the knowledge and experience to work on your behalf to help make you whole again.
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