Process of Filing Lawsuits in Slip and Fall Accidents
Personal injuries are quite common. In most cases, these types of injuries are caused by accidents or negligence on other people’s part. Accidents that cause injuries include bicycle accidents, car accidents, pedestrian accidents and construction accidents. Victims of such accidents, and their families need to seek legal redress as soon as possible so that those who are responsible pay for the damages caused. If you are involved in any of these accidents, it is advisable that you file a personal injury claim, which will pave way for compensation. For your lawsuit to be successful, you need to observe the following procedure.
You should first consult your attorney to determine whether your case is plausible or not. Generally, attorneys only accept cases that have solid evidence. During the consultation phase, outline all the details of the accident to your personal injury lawyer. Consulting your attorney helps him or her to garner all your treatment details, which may swing the case in your favor. Besides this, it gives a personal injury lawyer an idea about witnesses who are relevant to the case. Depending on the magnitude of the case, it will also help the attorney to come up with a budget.
During personal injury lawsuits, petitions or complaints are usually the first documents to be filed. A petition outlines all the parties that are involved in that particular case. In addition, it gives a legal explanation as to why the court of law has a prerogative over that case. The exact details of the claims and the facts used to determine each claim, are also stipulated. A petition similarly outlines what the plaintiff expects from the respondent. Once the pleadings are made, summons will be issued by the court of law, notifying the respondent of the ongoing proceedings against him or her. Respondents have the right to go to court, seeking to have the case against them dismissed.
Fact – Finding
After the respondents have been notified, all the facts pertaining to the case will be verified to unearth hidden factors. This helps in determining whether the personal injury case will proceed to full trial. Fact-finding is mainly done through the production of depositions and documents to validate or weaken the case at hand.
Pre – Trial Court Motions
Once the case proceeds to this stage, two types of motions may be filed. These are dispositive and non-dispositive motions. The latter mainly depends on a question occurring proceeding. On the other hand, dispositive motions may filed due to different reasons. Dispositive motions are filed in different forms including:
a) Motion to Dismiss
A motion seeking to dismiss the case may be filed after the fact-finding stage. This is normally done when the facts supporting the case are deemed to be weak by the respondent’s legal team. Motion to dismiss may also be based on inadequacy of subject matter prerogative. This implies that the court has no jurisdiction to make a ruling over that type of case. This motion can also be filed if the court does not have the ability to make a fair ruling, and also when the case needs to be shifted to another case. A motion to dismiss is also applicable if there is insufficient evidence concerning the respondent’s involvement in the slip and fall accident.
b) Summary Judgment Motion
This motion is often filed when the facts presented before the court of law are undeniable and therefore, can exclusively favor either of the parties. In such cases, the motion is filed to prevent trial.
c) Motion for Default Hearing
In case the respondent doesn’t respond to a court summon, the court’s ruling will favor the litigant.
d) Sus Sponte Dismissal
This is a motion of dismissal, which is often issued by the judge. The motion is often passed if the court finds out that the lawsuit is fallacious, or lacks integrity.
If the case goes through the pretrial motion phase and no settlement has been reached between the parties involved, the court has the right to set a trial date. Personal injury lawsuit trials are similar to other court cases. Opening statements, witness testimonies, cross examination, arguments jury instructions and finally, the verdict are all required. Generally, the verdict is made by a 12-member jury, which must make a unanimous decision.
Once the verdict has been made, the losing party is often obliged to pay for the damages, and the legal costs of the winning party. If the loser declines to make the payment, the winner’s attorney has the right to find other legal means of collecting the money.
Losers can make an appeal if they think that the verdict made concerning the personal injury lawsuit, was unsatisfactory. Appeals can similarly be made if the case is found to have been built on erroneous premises and arguments. In some cases, a verdict may be reversed if the error that was committed is significant.