Answers to Commonly Asked Personal Injury Litigation Questions
The vast majority of personal injury claims do settle amicably. These settlements are reached between the insurance company and the victim of the personal injury accident. However, some cases don’t settle amicably, and when that occurs, a lawsuit is necessary. For many, the litigation process can seem like a very different and foreign experience. Here are some answers to some frequently asked personal injury litigation questions we hope you find useful.
Q: How long does the litigation process typically take?
A: The answer depends on the type of case involved. For routine auto accident claims that are filed in court, the litigation process can take anywhere from six months to two years. However, for more complex and serious injury cases, the litigation timeline can be multiple years, as many as three or four years potentially with case such as wrongful death cases. Essentially, it depends on the type of case, the amount of parties involved, type of injuries, etc.
Q: What is a deposition?
A: A deposition is a key component of the personal injury litigation process. This is a proceeding in which an individual is sworn under oath to answer questions posed to him or her. You likely will be deposed if you are the one who files a lawsuit. As well, the person or company that you have sued for your personal injury accident can also be deposed. A deposition can last anywhere from between one hour up to eight hours. The length of a deposition depends on the complexity of the case and the amount of information the deponent has available to him or her.
Q: What is discovery?
A: Discovery is a part of the litigation process that involves depositions, interrogatories, as well as requests for production of documents. The discovery phase of a lawsuit can take many months, and sometimes even as much as a year or two to complete. This is basically a process whereby each party to the lawsuit requests information to other parties of the lawsuit. This is a process whereby the parties exchange information which assists each party in examining and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of their position relative to the case.
Q: Will my case end up going to trial?
A: Even after a lawsuit is filed, most personal injury claims do settle short of trial. However, there are cases that do not settle amicably. When that occurs, then a trial will be necessary. For personal injury cases, this is a jury trial in which a judge presides over the trial and a jury ultimately decides whether or not to award money damages to the plaintiff.
Q: Will I have to testify at trial?
A: Yes. You very well will be asked to take the stand during your trial. The attorney for the insurance company will ask you questions. As well, your own attorney will ask you questions while you’re on the witness stand. Prior to answering any questions, you will be sworn in under oath, whereby you will swear and promise to answer all questions posed to you truthfully and accurately.
Q: How long will my trial take?
A: Again, it really depends on the type of case involved. Typically, the more documents and exhibits that are involved, as well as the amount of witnesses that will be testifying, can dictate the length of the trial. A personal injury trial in Massachusetts can take anywhere from two days to six months to complete. The answer to that question truly depends on a number of different factors that control the length of a trial.
Q: What happens if I win a trial?
A: If the jury decides that the party of sued was negligently responsible for causing your accident, then they may award to you money damages. These damages are intended to compensate you for any out-of-pocket medical bills as well as for your pain and suffering, and any other damages your personal injury lawyer was able to document and establish at trial.
Q: What if I lose a trial?
A: If the jury comes back with a finding of no negligence, then you will have lost a trial. If that does occur, your attorney, if appropriate, can file an appeal. However, it is very, very difficult to successfully appeal an adverse jury verdict. Only in very limited circumstances is an appeal of a personal injury trial meritorious. These appeals typically turn very technical, legal issues that can determine whether or not the appeal ultimately will be successful or not.
If you have any other further, additional personal-injury questions, I encourage you to contact the Earley Law Group Injury Lawyers today at 617-444-7777 for your free no-obligation consultation.