I am often asked how a lawsuit will proceed, once the decision to bring suit has been made. Once a lawsuit has been filed, there is a typical process that will be followed.
Both sides have the right to engage in the process known as “discovery”. That discovery process consists of each side sending each other written questions that have to be answered, requesting that the other side produce documents in their possession and then perhaps taking oral statements of the other parties and their various witnesses to determine what those other persons actually know about the case and what type of witness they would make. Every personal injury lawyer is well aware of the fact that the insurance company generally has a cadre of doctors that they pay to examine injured persons. Under the rules of the court the insurance company is generally allowed to pick a doctor of their choosing for the purpose of having an injured person examined.
The trial itself may not take place for months after the suit is filed. How quickly a case progresses to trial depends upon what jurisdiction the case is filed in. The trial may be conducted either in front of a Judge alone or, if either party requests it, in front of a jury. At the conclusion of the presentation of all of the evidence in the case, the Judge or jury will be asked to decide the case and to render a verdict.
In many tort claims, it may be necessary to present expert testimony to prove your case. This is especially true in personal injury, medical malpractice or legal malpractice claims. In malpractice claims it is necessary to present expert testimony generally from a professional in the same field as the party being sued which establishes what the standard of care is for that person being sued; i.e., what they should have done and then further to establish that the failure to comply with the applicable standard of care was in fact a cause of injury to the party bringing the claim. In personal injury claims, the expert will generally consist of a medical doctor who testifies that the Plaintiff suffered certain injuries, that the treatment that the Plaintiff received was reasonable, and was a result of the negligence of the other party, that the bills and income loss are also reasonable and appropriate and the nature and duration of any permanent disability.
Legal answers provided by Brien Roche, a personal injury attorney with over 35 years of trial experience. Contact Us today to discuss your personal injury matter.