February 23, 2024
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
To commence a personal injury lawsuit, a Summons & Complaint is filed with the Court. The Summons gives the Defendant(s) notice that they are being sued and what the lawsuit is about. The Complaint sets forth the allegations. Once the Summons & Complaint is filed, it must be served upon the Defendant(s) within one hundred & twenty (120) days.
After being served the Defendant(s) are required to file an Answer within thirty (30) days. In an Answer, the Defendant(s) will admit or deny certain allegations that are alleged in the Complaint. A typical Answer denies most of the plaintiff’s allegations.
The “Discovery” stage begins when the Defendant(s) file an Answer. In the Discovery stage, information and legal documents are exchanged. As well, sworn witness testimony is secured via depositions.
Bill of Particulars
One legal document exchanged in discovery is a Bill of Particulars. A Bill of Particulars is a legal document whereby the Plaintiff sets forth all of the details of the underlying accident, such as the date, time, location of the occurrence, specific acts of negligence performed by the Defendant(s), the amount of damages being claimed as well the specific injuries being claimed.
A Preliminary Conference is a Court conference that schedules the Examination Before Trial (“EBT”) of the parties. The Defendant’s physical examinations of the Plaintiff and a timeline for the exchange of information & documents will also be scheduled at the Preliminary Conference.
Examination Before Trial (“EBT”)
The Examination Before Trial (“EBT”) is an informal proceeding. There is no judge nor jury present. Quite often it is conducted outside of the courthouse, usually in an attorneys office or a neutral location. The only people present are the parties and their attorneys, a stenographer who records precisely every word said, and if necessary an interpreter. At the EBT, the Defendant(s) attorneys question the Plaintiff about their specific injuries as well as the underlying facts and circumstances of this matter. Likewise, the Plaintiff’s attorneys question the Defendant(s) about the underlying facts and circumstances of the accident.
Defendant’s Physical Examination
Thereafter the Defendants’ attorneys have the right to conduct a physical examination of the Plaintiff. The type of doctor conducting the examination depends on the injuries being claimed.
Note of Issue
Once all the Discovery is complete, Plaintiff is allowed to put their case on the trial calendar. This is done by filing a document known as a Note of Issue. The Note of Issue advises the Court that Plaintiff is ready to try this case. Unfortunately, the Court trial calendars are backlogged. It can take 6 to 24 months to receive an actual trial date.
While on the trial calendar, the Court will schedule multiple pre-trial conferences. One of the main purpose of a pre-trial conferences is to encourage settlement. Many cases are settled at a pre-trial conference.
If your case cannot be settled, your case will proceed to Trial. A personal injury trial usually consists of the following six (6) phases:
- Jury selection
- Opening statements
- Witness testimony & cross-examination
- Closing arguments
- Jury instruction
- Jury deliberation & verdict
There is no doubt that litigation can be a time-consuming process. The good news is the vast majority of cases are settled during the course of the litigation.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a victim of an accident, the personal injury attorneys at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP are here to help. The accident attorneys at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP are skilled at handling personal injury claims. Our firm’s motto is “Don’t Be A Victim Twice”. If you are a victim of an accident, call 1-800-VICTIM2 (1-800-842-8462) to schedule a confidential consultation. The call is free. The consultation is free. You don’t pay us unless we are successful. That’s our “Our Fee Guarantee – No Fee Unless Successful