If you have been hurt in an accident caused by the carelessness, negligence or wrongdoing of another person, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. What will the process look like? What steps will you have to take before you can expect to actually receive compensation for your losses? Here's an overview of the legal process for personal injury claims.
HIRE AN ATTORNEY AND FILE YOUR CLAIM
The first thing you want to do is hire experienced legal counsel. The sooner you retain legal counsel, the sooner your lawyer can take steps to gather and preserve evidence. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that witnesses will move, disappear, die or forget what they saw. In addition, you must file any legal action within a very specific period of time-generally two years from the date of the accident, but it could be as little as 90 days, depending on who the defendant is.
THE DISCOVERY PHASE
Once you've filed your lawsuit and the defendant has answered the complaint, the court will typically schedule a meeting of the attorneys. It's not unusual for the judge to try to get a sense of whether the case can settle and the judge may actually request that the parties make a good faith effort to settle the case. At the same time, though, the court usually establishes a "discovery" schedule. Discovery is the legal term for the gathering of evidence, whether through depositions, production of documents, or answers to written questions, known as "interrogatories." The court will generally set a date by which all discovery must be completed, and will also set forth any necessary rules related to discovery.
CONTACT MALLON & TRANGER
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey who has been a victim of a personal injury. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333 (toll free at ) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.