Once a lawsuit is filed, that’s when the gears of litigation start turning. As soon as your case is in the court system, it’s on the court’s docket and things start happening. If you’ve recently filed a suit and are unsure of what happens next, here is what you can expect.
Wait for the Defendant to File Their Answer
The immediate step after a lawsuit is filed is to wait for the defendant to file their answer. An answer is basically just a response to the allegation that is set forward in your complaint. In other words, your attorney will file the lawsuit and allege in that lawsuit who the defendant is, where they live, what they’ve done, and how they’ve harmed you. Their answer is in response to that.
Enter the Discovery Phase
Once the answer is received, you will be able to move forward to what’s called the discovery phase of the case. This is where the majority of the effort, time and expense is set forward. In the lifespan of a case in litigation, it takes the longest but it’s worth it in the end. This phase is where both sides are exchanging information about the respective cases and it’s primarily done through interrogatories and requests for production of documents. These are written questions and written requests that one side sends to the other to find out more about the case.
The attorney for the insurance company will send some of those questions and requests to you and your attorney, who will go through them with you one by one to make sure that the best answers are given. These interrogatories and requests for production of documents are the cornerstones. The discovery is what gets the ball rolling and gets both sides to start feeling the other side out in terms of what they’re going to do at trial and what their position is going to be.
Your Case Gets Built
During the discovery process and even before it, your attorney will be busy getting your medical records and medical bills and building your case. Once all the information is received, it is given to the other side and there may be other discovery that will follow after that, such as doctor depositions that take place to talk about your injuries. These occur to meet the burden of proof to show that you were hurt from a medical standpoint.
Depositions are Conducted
Depositions, which are the question and answer sessions, will be conducted. This is when the defendant, for example the dog owner, comes in with their attorney. Your attorney will ask them questions and they’ll raise their right hand and swear to tell the truth. This is another way to find out the other side of the case and what really happened and helps to further build your case. It’s equally possible that the other side will want to do the same with you, and if so, you will be sitting for a question and answer session with your attorney by your side.
Decide on an End Result
Once that discovery phase comes to an end, there comes the proverbial fork in the road. Here, you and your attorney will decide to explore settlement or keep getting ready for trial.
If you are looking to file a lawsuit, or have filed one and unsure of what happens next, speak to our experienced attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.