The steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the jurisdiction in which it is filed. However, here is a general overview of the steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit:
1. Consultation with an attorney: The first step in a personal injury lawsuit is to consult with an attorney who can evaluate the merits of your case and advise you on your legal options.
2. Investigation: After you hire an attorney, they will investigate the details of the incident, gather evidence, and interview witnesses.
3. Filing a petition: If your attorney determines that you have a strong case, they will file a petition with the court, outlining the details of the incident and the damages you are seeking.
4. Serving the defendant: The defendant will be served with a copy of the petition and is given a certain amount of time to respond.
5. Discovery: After a lawsuit is filed, the parties will likely serve written questions to be answered by the opposing party, will request the production of documents from the opposing party, and will take depositions of the opposing party and relevant witnesses. This process is called ‘discovery’.
6. Pre-trial motions: Both sides may file pre-trial motions, such as motions to dismiss or to exclude certain evidence.
7. Settlement negotiations: Before trial, the parties may attempt to reach a settlement agreement. If they are unable to do so, the case will proceed to trial. Mediation may take place to facilitate settlement negotiations as well.
8. Trial: During the trial, each side will present their case to a judge or jury, who will decide whether the defendant is liable and how much damages should be awarded.
9. Appeals: If one party is unhappy with the outcome of the trial, they may file an appeal.
In Missouri, the length of time it takes to complete a personal injury lawsuit can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s docket. However, it is not uncommon for the process to take several months to several years.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, please reach out to The A.W. Smith Law Firm for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.