What Happens After An Attorney Is Retained And The Case Begins Part II
March 2, 2015
Usually, the plaintiff’s attorney will contact the insurance company for the defendant and try to settle a claim without filing suit.While in the past, insurance companies used to attempt to reasonably settle cases without lawsuits, nowadays they will rarely if ever do so, therefore requiring the filing of a lawsuit.
The lawsuit is commenced by the filing of a civil “complaint”. This simply outlines that the plaintiff claims injuries, and claims that the defendant caused the injuries. The defendant then files an “answer” in which he denies fault, and denies that the plaintiff’s injuries were significant, no matter how clearly the evidence to the contrary may be.
The process of discovery then begins. Defendant sends written questions called interrogatories to the plaintiff asking for the specifics of the lawsuit, and the plaintiff sends interrogatories to the defendant asking for the specifics of his defenses.
An exchange of any relevant documents also then usually occurs, and depositions are conducted which are simply question and answer interviews with a court reporter present.
The plaintiff will submit any expert reports upon which he relies (for example the report of his treating physicians, therapists, etc.) The defendant may have the plaintiff examined by physicians and experts of the defendant’s choosing, and submits those reports to the plaintiff’s attorney.
Eventually, the case is submitted to non-binding arbitration. An independent experienced trial attorney will meet with both sides and listen to both sides of the case, and will render an award. The award may be rejected by either side within 30 days, and it usually is, and the case is then scheduled for trial.