Want to Know How Your Lawsuit Affects You? Our San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Explains
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Posted in News & Articles | Posted by: George Heppner - San Diego Personal Injury Attorney
If you are working with a San Diego personal injury lawyer, you may be preparing for your case to proceed to formal litigation. If a lawsuit is necessary, your lawyer will communicate with you about what to expect as the process unfolds. While each lawsuit is unique, most cases follow a similar general structure. This article explains how the stages of a lawsuit will affect you. Be sure to discuss the particulars of your case with your lawyer.
Stage 1: Filing and Serving Initial Papers
In the first stage of formal litigation, your lawyer will file a Summons and Complaint, which sets forth the allegations against the person you claim caused your injuries (the defendant). Your lawyer will file this document with the relevant court, and it will also be necessary to serve the document on the defendant. Your lawyer typically will not need to involve you personally at this stage of litigation.
Stage 2: Answering the Complaint
After your lawyer has served the Complaint, the defendant will have certain amount of time in which to respond with a document called the Answer. If the defendant fails to answer the Complaint within the prescribed time period, although highly unusual, you will be entitled to default judgment in your favor. In the vast majority of lawsuits, defendants file Answers that deny responsibility; an Answer may even assert a counter-claim against you if the defendant also suffered injuries in the underlying accident. While your lawyer will communicate with you about the Answer, you will typically not need to do anything on your own at this stage.
Stage 3: Discovery
During the discovery stage of litigation, both you and the defendant will seek information about the underlying facts of the case. You will do so by filing formal questions, called Interrogatories, and conducting depositions to obtain oral testimony from relevant witnesses. You may even request documents from the defendant. The defendant will also be making similar requests of you, and your San Diego personal injury lawyer will typically require your involvement at this stage. You may need to testify in a deposition or assist your lawyer in preparing responses or collecting documents. During discovery, your lawyer may also make motions in court regarding the scope of discovery and the admissibility of specific evidence. Your participation is not typically required, although the lawyer may need your assistance in gathering certain underlying factual information.
Stage 4: Trial
At the conclusion of discovery, if you and the defendant have not reached a settlement, your case will most likely proceed to trial. A San Diego personal injury lawyer will communicate with you at length during preparation for trial, and you may need to testify or otherwise participate during trial proceedings.
Contact a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident or medical procedure, you should talk to a lawyer about your legal options. For more information on the litigation process or to discuss your case, contact San Diego personal injury lawyer George Charles Heppner at (619) 235-4300.