Filing a Lawsuit – What to Expect
If you were injured or adversely affected by the actions of another person, legal action is often the only way for you to get the compensation you deserve. In most cases, this legal action takes the form of a lawsuit. In today’s society, the term lawsuit is thrown about very casually. However, do you know what really goes on when a lawsuit is filed? There’s more to it than just what you may see on television.
The first thing you should know is that, contrary to depictions in the popular media, lawsuits are rarely glamorous affairs. In fact, the vast majority of lawsuits never make it to trial. In most cases, both plaintiff and defendant find it more appropriate and beneficial to settle their dispute out of court. This may be due to a desire to avoid publicity, reduce legal fees, or simply due to an unwillingness to wade through a complex jurisdictional maze. When you file a lawsuit, don’t always expect a courtroom showdown – it may never happen.
5 Phases of a Lawsuit
There are five main “phases” to a typical lawsuit. From start to finish, they are:
Step Two – Contact Your Insurance Company
Pleading – the first phase, during which the plaintiff files his complaint with the court clerk and the defendant receives notice of the lawsuit in the form of a court summons. The defendant has a set period of time to respond to the complaint, either by admitting to it, denying it, or moving to dismiss.
Pre-trial – during this phase, the opposing parties exchange information and evidence. This exchange is known as discovery or disclosure. At this time, each side may also file motions with the court to include or exclude certain pieces of evidence. At the end of this phase, the two sides pick a jury to hear the case.
Trial – if no settlement between the two parties has been reached at this point, the case moves to trial. During this phase, each side will argue their respective cases before a judge and jury. At the end of the trial, a judgment for either the plaintiff or the defendant will be reached.
Appeal – if either the plaintiff or defendant is unhappy with the judgment from the initial trial, they will have the option to file an appeal. A higher court, known as an appellate court, will affirm, reverse, remand, or refuse to hear a case. Many cases go through several rounds of appeals before finally being decided one way or another.
Enforcement – after a final judgment is decided, the enforcement stage begins. If the judgment was in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant will be forced to comply with the judgment, which is usually in some form of monetary award.
If you have been injured, contact a Wausau personal injury lawyer from Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, to learn more about your legal options. Call 715-387-4242 today.