If you’re seeking damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to go through the civil litigation process. This can be a lengthy process with a lot of moving parts along with ample documentation and crucial deadlines and stipulations that must be met. Reach out to the Morales Law Firm for help with your personal injury lawsuit to ensure you are receiving the fairest settlement possible and to avoid the extra headaches that could come from the case.
Hiring an Attorney
The local small claims court limit is between $5,000 and $10,000 in California. If your damages go beyond the local small claims court limit, you will need to seek further legal action and speak with an attorney. After discussing your case with an attorney, he or she will decide whether your case warrants further investigation. If the attorney decides they do, they will proceed with filing a lawsuit. Your attorney can also fill you in on further details regarding the financial amounts that can be sued over.
Before your case goes to trial, you will need to go through a series of steps. The first is the discovery process, which is when both attorneys conduct a thorough investigation and share any evidence or witnesses they come up with that might be relevant in court. During this time witnesses will be deposed and put under oath to answer questions from the opposing party. The judge, after hearing all the witnesses and analyzing all the evidence, will determine whether the plaintiff has no case or the circumstances warrant a trial.
What Happens During the Trial?
The trial will ultimately determine whether the defendant was at fault for the accident and therefore owes damages to the plaintiff. After the trial, either side may file an appeal, which alleges that errors were made—typically by the judge or the lawyers involved—that unduly influenced the ruling. This can result in a new trial. The appeals process can take up to several years to complete. If the defendant fails to convince a judge during the appeal that they do not owe damages or the amount owed is unjust, they will be legally required to pay the damages owed.
Do You Need To Do All of This To Be Compensated?
No. During any step outlined above the two parties may choose to settle, which is what happens the vast majority of the time before a trial can happen. This is generally the preferred outcome for both parties, as going through the entire process can be immensely expensive. A settlement is an agreed amount the defendant will pay you in exchange for being released from liability.
If you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit, then you will want to be sure you’re getting the proper and fair compensation to which you’re entitled. Contact a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA from the Morales Law Firm to assist with your personal injury case.