Stages of a Case
Lawsuits arise when a car accident results in injuries and extensive property damage (cars, buildings, road signs, etc). Either as the plaintiff or the defendant, knowing the stages of a case will help you remain patient. The case might take years to unfold, and along the way, your lawyer will need your input as to how you want to proceed. Here is what to expect.
Mediation is the first step towards settling the case. You will have to sit through various interviews (depositions) about the accident to establish responsibility. If you are the victim, you will also have to produce evidence regarding medical expenses, lost wages, and physical pain. You may meet with a mediator who will offer an unbiased opinion about the case. Mediation may take several months.
If both sides don’t agree on a settlement with mediation, the case will go into discovery. Discovery will delve deeper into the case with additional interviews and a detailed analysis of the police records. Drivers, passenger, and witnesses will all be called to testify as to what happened. Discovery is to help your lawyer prepare for trial and will take many months.
At the end of the discovery process, your lawyer will likely give you a recommendation. You can move forward into trial, or you can settle at the end of the discovery process. At this point, more than a year may have passed, and you might be ready to settle and move on with life. If you choose a trial, the clock resets, and you might be looking at another year or more before you finally have your day in front of a judge.
Thankfully, our legal system produces fair results the vast majority of the time. But the process can be slow and difficult to endure. Select the right lawyer for your case; you are about to spend the next few years with him or her.