In a very brief nutshell:
A lawsuit is filed, laying out the basic facts of the claim. The lawsuit must then be personally served on the defendant(s).
Thereafter, defendant’s legal counsel (usually hired by defendant’s liability insurance carrier) files an Answer, which often acknowledges the subject incident, may or may not admit fault, and which will usually challenge causation and/or the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries.
If the claim is worth more than $50,000 plaintiff’s attorney will likely have filed for a jury trial, whereas if the claim is worth less than $50,000, that claim was likely certified for arbitration. In a trial, the matter is decided by a jury of eight strangers, often with little knowledge of personal injury law and/or medicine. Therefore, physicians are often brought in to testify live (at considerable cost).
In an Arbitration, the court assigns a licensed attorney to serve as arbitrator, playing the role of both judge and jury, with a hearing that usually takes place in a conference room as opposed to a courtroom. Physicians usually testify via the medical records and so rarely are called upon to testify live.
In either venue, after an Answer is filed, discovery begins, which each side can learn more about the other. This usually involves written questions, followed by a deposition (live questioning)
Thereafter, depending on the complexity of the medical issues, the plaintiff may be asked to undergo an examination by a physician hired by defendants.
Depending on the complexity of the issues, other people may be deposed as well. If on a trial track, the matter usually proceeds to a settlement conference in an attempt to reach a settlement prior to trial. If on the arbitration track, the matter generally proceeds to an arbitration hearing.
There are many other facets that need to be considered during the process. Such as, How soon should you file a personal injury lawsuit Or, How are damages calculated in a personal injury case
This is just the beginning of what possible processes can arise from a personal injury claim. The best thing you can do, is make sure you have the right phoenix personal injury law firm representing you. Experience is key in these types of situations. Make sure you are being protected and represented well. Know your rights.
Have a question? Please be sure to call us directly at (602) 494-4800. Or you may also live chat with us 24/7. Stop guessing.