If you are about file a personal injury claim, stop what you are doing and read this. The key to success in a personal injury case is being prepared for every possible outcome, challenge and pitfall that might be encountered along the way, and having a strong legal foundation for each stage of your case.
Today, we invited our Los Angeles personal injury attorney from the Compass Law Group, LLP to outline what stages are there. Remember: you need an efficient legal strategy for each stage in order to pursue the compensation that you truly deserve.
Stages of a personal injury case Depending on how your particular personal injury case may progress, there can be a maximum of five stages from the moment the lawsuit is filed to the moment your attorney or the attorney of the defendant appeals a negative judgment (if it leads to this stage).
Every case is unique and may get off track from this standard progression of a personal injury claim which is why it is highly advised to be represented by a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer in order to achieve legal success and recover damages in your particular case. Generally, these are the five stages of a personal injury case in California:
- Pre-Litigation/Pretrial Stage. At this stage, you hire an attorney to prepare for the litigation process. This is also the stage when you have to attend conferences and motions along with your lawyer, the defendant, and his/her lawyer. Such meetings will be held in front of the trial judge. A pretrial conference can be requested by you or the party you are suing. However, in some cases, such conferences are ordered by the court. The purpose of pretrial conferences is to speed up disposition of a personal injury case and help the court get a broad understanding of your case. This also allows the court to discourage parties from engaging in unnecessary pretrial activities and, in turn, increase the chances of two parties reaching a settlement.
- Demand-Settlement Negotiations Stage. This is the stage where your Los Angeles personal injury attorney and the lawyer of the other party will conduct negotiations in an attempt to reach a settlement that would be favored by both parties. If the negotiations are successful, the settlement is awarded to the injured party and the case is closed. If not, the case goes to trial.
- Litigation/Trial Stage. You, the other party, your lawyer and the lawyer of the other party appear in front of a jury and judge and present evidence to prove or disprove the main points argued in the case. At this stage, the plaintiff is the first party to present his/her case; then, the defendant gets the chance to speak in front of the judge. Afterwards, witnesses may be called or subpoenaed to testify in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant and his/her lawyer can cross-examine the witness and his/her testimony. Then, witnesses for the defense are allowed to testify.
- Settlement-Closing Stage. This is the stage that comes right before judgement is delivered by juries and judge, giving the plaintiff and defendant one last chance to settle on an agreement. If the parties fail to reach a settlement at this stage, the judge or jury assume the full control of the decision and make their final arguments.
- Appeal and Post-Judgment Motions Stage. If any of the parties is not satisfied with the court’s decision, they may appeal a negative judgment or make a motion to start a new trial.
As you can see, the whole process can be very confusing and difficult to navigate if you are not represented by a lawyer. Seek legal advice of our best personal injury lawyers in California to substantially increase your chances of winning your claim.