THE PROCESS OF BRINGING A CLAIM
Once your hire The Garrison Law Firm we will conduct an initial interview to get the basic information about your claim. After the initial interview, we will take the necessary steps to obtain confirming additional information, such as requesting a copy of an accident report, obtaining a copy of your related medical records, obtaining records from your employer or business, hiring an investigator if necessary to ascertain the presence and observations of witnesses, and other tasks which are reasonably calculated towards establishing the full amount of your damages.
Once you have completed your medical treatment we will make a full assessment as to the impact that your injuries and limitations will have on your earnings, ability to perform your job, your household duties, and to ability to engage in your daily activities. It is essential that all aspects, past and future, of your medical condition, your earnings and income potential, and your other out-of-pocket expenses, which relate to your injuries, be fully explored. A proper determination of what constitutes fair compensation for pain and suffering usually requires skill, research, and years of experience and training.
A comprehensive and detailed settlement demand letter will be sent to the insurance company for the other party to see whether we can come to agreement regarding liability and damages. A case which is properly analyzed and developed in this fashion can often be settled favorably without need for litigation.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A LAWSUIT
Unfortunately not all cases can be settled. If a lawsuit is needed Garrison Law Firm stands ready to fight for you. A lawsuit starts the path towards ultimate resolution of the case, either by trial, or, in most cases by a settlement achieved prior to trial. A lawsuit involves a number of different procedural steps and aspects. The following is a list of the most common ones:
1. Drafting, Filing, and Serving the Lawsuit:
The lawsuit itself must be properly drafted, and must contain the necessary allegations against the properly designated defendants. Failure to meet these requirements subjects the lawsuit itself to attack. The lawsuit must be filed in the appropriate court, and within the prescribed period of time allowed by law. After filing, a copy of the lawsuit and a properly prepared summons must be served on the defendants. Completion of this process requires the defendant to answer the complaint, and brings the defendant before the court.
2. Discovery and Investigation:
After a properly prepared lawsuit has been filed and served on the defendants, the process known as discovery begins. Discovery is the process by which each side obtains information about the basis for the other side's claims and/or defenses. Since discovery responses are answered under oath, there are stringent requirements for giving truthful and complete responses, and potentially serious penalties for failure to do so.Remember, other than for very rare exceptions, your attorney will be with you and will assist you in every aspect of responding to discovery. And while you are supplying responsive information to the other side, your attorney will be conducting discovery against the defendants as well.The following are the generally utilized forms of discovery:
Depositions are a procedure where the attorneys are permitted to ask questions of the parties and other witnesses, and to require answers under oath. Depositions are usually taken in person, in the lawyer's office or another agreed-upon place. The questions and answers are taken down stenographically by a certified court reporter, and a transcript of the deposition is prepared for future use and reference.
Interrogatories are written questions which must be answered in writing, under oath, usually within thirty days. Because the procedure is less conducive than depositions towards obtaining information on the ultimate facts, interrogatories are usually used to obtain foundational information, and the names and identities of essential witnesses.
C. Requests for Admissions:
Requests for admission are foundational questions used to determine and frame the foundational issues of the case.
D. Requests for production of documents and things:
This discovery device is a very useful tool, requiring the responding party to gather together and furnish to the requesting party all manner of documents which in any way pertain to the relevant issues, as designated in the request. Examples of such documents would be photos of the accident scene, photos of damage, x-rays and medical records, business and personal income records, diaries and journal entries, and the like. Except for certain privileged documents, practically any category of documents may be requested and obtained through his discovery device, so long as the documents requested are reasonably relevant to the issues in the case.
E. Defense medical examinations:
Persons making a claim for injuries may reasonably be subjected to a physical examination by a doctor of the defendants' choosing, in order to establish a position as to whether the injuries are related to the accident, whether the injuries claimed are real or exaggerated, and to obtain a prognosis.
3. Retaining Experts:
Experts are designated and are retained to offer opinions on matters relevant to the claim. Typically, experts in a personal injury claim might include doctors, accident reconstruction experts, economists, accountants, and vocational rehabilitation specialists. This list is not all-inclusive.It is usually the attorney's role to locate, retain and communicate with the experts retained to help you present your claim. However, your own doctor or accountant or similar professional may sometimes be designated and used as an expert, where appropriate.
Dispute Resolution:Even after suit has been filed, cases sometimes can be resolved through a means other than litigation. The most typical of these methods are arbitration and mediation.
A. Arbitration:Arbitration is a system where a decision on the case is made by an arbitrator. This process can be utilized either by agreement between the parties, or the court can order the parties to go to arbitration as a procedural step in the lawsuit.When parties agree to arbitrate their dispute, they usually agree to be bound by the result, thus putting an end to the claim. Judicially ordered arbitration results, on the other hand, are usually not binding, and any party to such an arbitration procedure can request that the matter be placed back on the trial calendar simply by making a timely request to the court.
Mediation is a process where the parties agree to try to resolve their differences with the assistance of a trained professional, called the mediator. Mediators are usually lawyers or retired judges who have special expertise in the field of personal injury claims. The mediator does not have the authority to render a decision, force a result on the parties, or to make orders.
5. Settlement conferences:
As the case draws near to trial., the court will require the parties to engage in settlement conferences, which are overseen by asettlement conference judge. Although the judge cannot absolutely force the parties to settle their case, the judge usually uses the court's considerable influence to attempt to convince the parties to settle. Cases which are still pending usually are settled through this process.
6. Pre-trial motions:
A motion is a procedure where a party to a lawsuit applies to the court for a ruling on a particular issue. Motions are typically sought to allow the "moving party" to take certain action, or to have the court order the other side do something it has refused to do, or to ask that the court itself take certain action with regard to the case.
Trial offers the parties the last resort to resolve their case. Trial involves the use of testimony by the parties and their experts and other witnesses. Trial can be either to a jury or to the court directly. The process is costly and high risk, and more than ninety percent of all lawsuits, which are filed, are settled without trial.