This is a question I get all the time. People generally don’t like the thought of going to court and having to speak in public. This is especially true when they think of having to talk about personal details of their lives like their injuries. Understandably then, most people don’t want to go to court. The truth is, most personal injury cases settle without anyone having to set foot in a courtroom. Hopefully this article will shed some light on how and when cases end up in court.
No one has to go to court if your case settles in the pre-litigation phase of a personal injury claim. That’s more or less what pre-litigation means: before a court case. In this phase of a personal injury claim, you or your Fort Collins personal injury lawyer will communicate with the insurance company directly to try to resolve your claim without having to file a lawsuit. If you can settle your case for a fair amount, no one has to go near a courtroom.
If you don’t settle your case pre-litigation, the it’s likely someone will have to go to court, but it may not be you. A lawsuit is started when someone (usually a lawyer) files a complaint. After that, the defendant has to file an answer. Then, discovery happens. During discovery, you would be asked to answer written questions from the other side and possible attend a deposition. A deposition is essentially an interview where you are under oath. The opposing attorney would get to ask you questions about the case and your medical treatment, and you have to answer those questions honestly.
However, even cases that go to litigation rarely end up with the client in a courtroom. The lawyers will probably have to go to court at least once during the course of a lawsuit, but clients typically only have to go if the case goes to trial. That’s a very small percentage of cases. Most cases settle before trial even if they go to litigation.
Another thing you might have to attend in the course of litigation is a mediation. That is a chance for a third party (usually an experienced lawyer or former judge) to discuss the case with each side and try to settle it. I’ll talk more about mediation in another post, but it’s an important part of many litigation cases.
Thanks to our friend and blog author, Sam Cannon of Cannon Hadfield, LLC for his insight into personal injury cases.