Ohio Personal Injury Attorneys: Trials Explained
Let’s talk a little bit about trials. You’re injured in an accident and you come into the office. We try to settle with insurance company and they are unreasonable, so we have to file a lawsuit. What does that mean? Let me give you a little idea just so you have some information of what would occur. The first thing we would do is file paperwork in the court, usually called a complaint, and we are actually suing the other driver. We are not suing his insurance company, we are suing the driver that was at fault. The driver that was at fault will get a copy of our complaint, sent certified by the court. That driver will then take that complaint to his insurance company. His contractive insurance will say they will represent him. They then hire an attorney and may file what they call an answer; the answer will basically say that, “We were not given anything yet.” That begins what we call discovery.
Discovery is the process where they learn about our case and we learn about their case. The first thing that normally occurs a list of questions being sent out called interrogatories. These interrogatories will usually ask background information, injury information, and accident information. They will be filled out by the injured party and sent back to the defendant’s insurance company. Normally, what occurs after that will be depositions.
Depositions are an opportunity for the other attorney to ask my client about the accident, their injuries, and related items in a setting such as our conference room. There will be a court reporter present whom will take down everything as it is being said. The attorney will ask questions to my client for several hours. The questions are primarily about the accident and the injuries. We will also take the defendant’s deposition asking them questions about the accident. After the depositions are over, the defendant’s insurance company may very well ask our client to be examined by one of their doctors for what they call an independent medical examination. Of note: there is nothing independent about it- it is their doctor. The doctor they are paying – it’s a defense medical. It is basically an opportunity for the insurance company to have one of their doctors examine my client and say there is nothing wrong with them or if there was something wrong with them, it should have healed up within a short period of time.
After all that is over with, usually we will do a mediation where we all sit down and try to settle the claim. This is kind of a last effort before the trial. If the case doesn’t settle in mediation, then we have to prepare for trial.
A trial is where we will go in front of a jury of eight people and ask them to compensate you for the injuries you sustained. You will have to testify and some of your family members may have to testify. Family is testifying basically to say, “Hey before the accident they were this way, after the accident they are now like this.” It is what we call before and after witnesses. In order to have a case go to trial you need medical testimony. You have to have a medical doctor, a chiropractic doctor, or someone in the medical facility that will testify that, based on a reasonable degree of medical probability, the automobile accident did in fact cause these injuries. All of that is then given to a jury and they make a decision. The decision comes out and you can accept or appeal.
The main thing is to remember that if you do begin the litigation process, it does get extremely time consuming. You are looking at taking at least a year to two years for you to actually go to trial. It also gets expensive. You are paying a lot of expenses that will occur during this time period. At the Flickinger Legal Group, we don’t file suit or get involved in litigation unless we absolutely believe it is necessary, and then if it is necessary, we have no problem going to court and trying the case.
Bottom line here is if you have a case, if you have a problem, if you have an issue, give us a call for a free consultation. (614) 944-5055. we will happy to sit down with you and talk about it and see if we can help you. Thank you.