Often times, victims of car accidents wonder what we can do for them that they cannot do themselves. They question why they should trust us and why they should put their chance of recovery in our hands. To help answer why, we like to review the stages and requirements of these kinds cases in order to demonstrate the usefulness of experienced and zealous representation.
The Case Begins
Generally, the early stages of your case will be defined by pleadings, investigation, and discovery.
- PLEADINGS: Pleadings are where you specifically map out your case against the defendant. The actual document is called a complaint and within it are a number of important things including who harmed you, how you were harmed, what you are seeking, and what grounds you have to seek that recovery. The defendant will respond to your complaint in an answer and contain affirmations or denials to each point that you raise as well as any affirmative defenses it has. Additionally, you might also have to file various motions to prove or disprove certain matters but the complaint and answer are the first and fundamental pleadings (or documents) in any lawsuit.
- INVESTIGATION: Before the case can actually begin, you must serve (or have the sheriff serve) the defendant. The summons informs the defendant that they are being sued, gives them the complaint, and lets them know when their response is due. This is the process by which courts obtain jurisdiction over defendants and empowers them to render verdicts. However, this is not all that you must do in the initial stages of your case. You must also conduct a serious amount of legal and factual investigation to provide a basis for your successful case at trial or through settlement.
- Discovery: Discovery is the formal back-and-forth between opposing parties. This is method by which you obtain evidence from the other side to eventually use in your case. There are strict limits on discovery including what kinds of things you can ask for, how much of certain things you can ask for, and how long you have to ask for certain things. Generally, the rules that courts use to decide what is discoverable and what is not are 1) is it relevant to the plaintiff’s case or defendant’s defense and 2) is producing extremely burdensome to the opposing side.
The Trial Begins
The hard work put into drafting, investigation, and discovery is just the beginning. Often times, you will also have to put on a remarkable case in order to succeed. Here are important landmarks to master of most cases:
- Opening Statement: This should outline where your case is going and your general theory of recovery.
- Direct Examinations: These should be utilized to illustrate your case in front of the jury. By questioning ordinary and expert witnesses, you should evince their observations and introduce their evidence in order to show why your side is right.
- Cross Examinations: These are when you question the other party’s witnesses in order to question their assumptions and general premise for the case. You are allowed to be more combative in cross examinations but you should aim to strike the right tone for the jury.
- Motions: Used intermittently through a case, these documents and presentations are used to argue for miscellaneous things including the summary judgment of the case, the exclusion of certain evidence, and the redaction of a witness’ testimony.
THE TRIAL ENDS
Assuming your lawsuit does not settle, the conclusion of your case will be the rendering of a verdict. When the jury renders a verdict, it must do so in accordance with relevant jury instructions. It is your side’s job to ensure that those instructions are proper. You can argue for correct instructions in front of a judge and through motion. After the case has concluded, you are entitled to seek additional relief from the judge as well as appeal your case to a higher court of law. All of these actions take incredible skill, resources, and hard work.
These sections only highlight the most important phases of any case. They do not compile everything that needs to be done or exactly it must be done. To more completely understand how you can obtain the compensation that you deserve for your case, call us today! One of our attorneys can walk you through in detail what should be accomplished. Also, remember that it is not impossible for a non-lawyer to do these things on their own behalf but when so much is on the line it is helpful to have someone fighting for you. Also, many firms should guarantee you the following items while doing so, as our firm does to every client we represent:
- No conflicts of interest.
We do not represent defendants that have caused car accidents similar to yours.
- Experience and urgency.
We only work with lawyers who have been in these kinds of lawsuits before and work with the utmost sense of urgency and expediency.
- Communication and access.
We ensure that an attorney is always available to inform you of what is happening at every point in the case.
- Resources and investment.
We invest every dollar and asset necessary to make sure you recover the compensation that you deserve and never ask for a cent in return unless you are satisfied with the jury award or settlement amount.
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