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What Can I Expect During My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
START
WHERE DO I TURN?
If you or your loved one are considering a personal injury lawsuit, you probably have many questions.
The following slides help explain the stages of a personal injury lawsuit, from injury to potential trial.
Step One: Metting, Evaluating & Hiring an Attorney
01
CALL A LAWYER
Consult a personal injury attorney for a professional opinion on whether you have a valid claim.
BE PREPARED
Bring supporting documentation, medical records, and notes you’ve taken about your case.
BE CAREFUL
You have the right to a free consultation. Avoid lawyers who charge fees just to meet with you.
Before taking any of these steps, obtain necessary medical care for your injuries.
Step One: Metting, Evaluating & Hiring an Attorney
01
TALK AND LEARN
Choose an attorney carefully. It can mean the difference between winning and losing your case.
BE OPEN
The attorney will ask you many questions in order to get a full understanding of your case.
ASK QUESTIONS
Ask any questions you have. Learn the attorney’s history with your type of case.
Good lawyers need time to evaluate the value of your case. Be wary of quick promises.
Step One: Metting, Evaluating & Hiring an Attorney
01
HIRE A LAWYER
Make sure to ask any questions you have about the fee before you sign the contract.
CLARIFY FEE
Most personal injury attorneys are paid a percentage of the recovery only if you win.
SIGN CONTRACT
Once you agree to hire an attorney, you will be asked to sign a client contract.
The lawyer’s fee is based on a percentage of the total recovery, usually 25 to 40 percent.
Step Two: Investigating Your Case
02
RESEARCH CASE
Your attorney will research your case to determine the extent of damage and injury.
BEGIN RESEARCH
Your attorney will contact the insurance company and possibly the attorney representing the party who injured you.
STAY INFORMED
Your attorney will keep you aware of any negotiations and significant developments throughout the lawsuit process.
At this point, you should focus on getting the medical attention you need and returning to your normal routine.
Step Three: Settling Your Case Prior to Filing a Lawsuit
03
SETTLE CASE
Many personal injury claims are resolved before a lawsuit is filed on your behalf.
NEGOTIATIONS
Your attorney will begin by negotiating with the insurance company representing the party who injured you.
SETTLEMENT OFFER
A monetary offer may be presented to your attorney to settle the case. Your attorney will inform you about any offers.
Your attorney will advise you on whether you should accept the offer. But ultimately, it is your decision whether to accept and settle.
Step Four: Filing a Lawsuit in Court
04
FILE LAWSUIT
If an adequate settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit.
SET DEADLINE
After you lawsuit has been filed, the judge will set deadlines for each phase of the process.
PLAN STRATEGY
The process can take several months to several years depending case complexity.
There are three pretrial phases: The Compliant and Answer Phase, the Discovery Phase, and the Motions Phase.
Step Four: Filing a Lawsuit in Court - Complaint & Answer
04
FILE LAWSUIT
The complaint is usually filed in the county where your injury occured.
THE COMPLAINT
This document details your allegations regarding your injury and the extent of your damages.
THE ANSWER
This is the document in which the defendant admits to or denies the allegations.
The defendent must “answer” the Complaint in a set period of time, usually 30 days.
Step Four: Filing a Lawsuit in Court - Discovery
04
FILE LAWSUIT
The discovery phase allows both parties to gather information from each other.
COLLECT FACTS
Discovery includes questions, also known as interrogatories, and requests for documents.
DEPOSITIONS
Depositions allow witnesses, experts, and each party to be questioned by a lawyer.
Your involvement is crucial at this point, so be sure your attorney has your latest contact information.
Step Four: Filing a Lawsuit in Court - Motions
04
FILE LAWSUIT
The defendant has the option to file a motion to ask the court to dismiss any part of the case.
THE MOTION
The defendant can file a motion before or after discovery asking for an action, such as dismissal.
THE HEARING
A hearing may be scheduled so that the court can consider the motion and your response.
Your attorney typically has 28 days to file a written response in opposition to the motion.
Step Five: At Trial
05
GOING TO TRIAL
When a case goes to trial, each party presents arguments to the judge and jury.
THE SIX TRIAL PHASES:
Jury selection, opening statements, testimony and cross-examination, closing arguments, jury instruction, and jury deliberation and verdict.
AWARD DISTRIBUTION
After each side presents, a judge or jury determines if the defendant is liable and the damages the defendant must pay if guilty.
Mediation can be requested at any time. In mediation, both sides present their case and engage in negotiations facilitated by a neutral mediator. Mediations are non-binding.
Step Six: Post Trial Appeals and Financial Disbursements
06
POST TRIAL
Sometimes your case is not yet over even if a jury has returned a verdict in your favor.
AFTER THE VERDICT
You may have to wait for your award to be distributed. The defense can appeal and ask a higher court to reconsider the case.
AWARD DISTRIBUTION
Before you are paid, your lawyer is required to pay those with a legal claim, known as a lien, out of a special escrow account.
After your attorney pays all outside parties they will write you a check. Your personal injury lawsuit is now over.

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If you were injured or lost a loved one because of the carelessness of another, you may be able to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

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