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What Happens to My Case in a Lawsuit?

If you have ever been involved in a personal injury case, you may wonder what happens during a lawsuit. Understanding the process can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that often accompanies legal proceedings. That’s why we’re here today with Norm Sawyer from Sawyer Injury Law in Atlanta to walk you through the various stages of a lawsuit process.

At Sawyer Injury Law, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the legal system and get the compensation they deserve. If you need help with a personal injury case, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation.

Why Does a Case Wind Up in a Lawsuit?

In the world of personal injury law, the ultimate goal is for the injured party to receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses. However, determining the value of a personal injury claim can be a complex and sometimes contentious process. In most cases, the client and their lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement agreement that both parties are satisfied with.

However, there are times when the client and the insurance company cannot come to an agreement. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a disagreement over who is at fault for the accident or the extent of the client’s injuries. When this occurs, the case may enter the lawsuit stage, which is a more formal and adversarial process.

The Complaint Phase

During the litigation phase, the injured person or their lawyer will file a legal document called a complaint. This document initiates the lawsuit and formally states that the injured party is suing the other person who caused the harm.

The complaint contains a detailed description of the incident and the specific reasons for the lawsuit, often presented in a paragraph-by-paragraph format. This may include information about the negligent or intentional actions of the defendant, the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, and the damages suffered as a result of the incident.

In addition to outlining the legal basis for the case, the complaint also serves as a formal notice to the defendant that they are being sued and must respond to the allegations made against them. This document is a critical component of any lawsuit and requires careful preparation and attention to detail to ensure that all necessary elements are included.

The Answer Phase

After the complaint is filed, the defendant’s lawyer will usually file a response, which is called an answer. In their answer, the defendant’s lawyer will either admit or deny the allegations against their client.

If the defendant’s lawyer admits to the allegations, they agree that their client did indeed cause the accident and resulting injuries. However, even if they admit to the wrongdoing, they may still argue that the injuries and damages claimed by the plaintiff are not as severe as they are portrayed.

On the other hand, if the defendant’s lawyer denies the allegations made in the complaint, they are disputing the plaintiff’s version of events and the extent of the injuries and damages. In some cases, the defendant’s lawyer may not respond to the lawsuit, in which case the plaintiff can seek a default judgment against them.

The Discovery Phase

After the answer phase, the case moves into the discovery phase. This phase involves researching what the other side or third parties know or don’t know about the collision, injuries, and damages involved. In Georgia, this period generally lasts six months but may be shortened or lengthened depending on whether you are in state or federal court. The rules may also differ slightly depending on which court you are in.

Status Update from the Judge

After the discovery phase, the judge will typically ask for a status update on the case. They will ask questions about its status and how far along it is. Depending on the judge, this may take up to a year or more, but typically the timeframe is anywhere between 18 and 24 months before you will see a courtroom for a case that does not settle first.

Pre-Trial Conference

Before the trial, the judge will call the lawyers for a pre-trial conference. This conference is a planning session where the judge and the opponent understand where each party is coming from. The lawyers will talk about things like who will testify and who will testify on video, and the judge will set the ground rules for the trial to help make things go smoother when in the courtroom.

The Trial Phase

After the pre-trial conference, the case will proceed to trial, which may take a day or a few days. The jury will issue a verdict, and that number will ultimately determine what the case is worth. If the jury’s verdict is favorable, the plaintiff will receive compensation for their damages. However, if the jury’s verdict is not in favor of the plaintiff, they may have the option to appeal the decision.

Ultimately, the goal is to come to a fair and just resolution for all parties involved. That’s why having an Atlanta personal injury lawyer by your side is important throughout the entire litigation process.

Contact Sawyer Injury Law Today

The lawsuit process can be intricate, and it’s essential to understand every stage of the process to achieve the desired outcome. However, with the guidance of an experienced lawyer, you can navigate through the different stages and ensure that your case is handled effectively.

At Sawyer Injury Law, we have over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation, and let us help you get started on the path to recovery.

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Author Bio

Norman Sawyer Norman Sawyer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Sawyer Injury Law, a personal injury law firm in Atlanta, GA. With more than 20 years of experience in personal injury, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including motor vehicle accidents, premises liability claims, municipal claims, wrongful death, and other cases.

Norman received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Georgia State Bar Association, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and St. Thomas More Society.

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