Timeline of an Injury Case in Minnesota
Every personal injury case is unique, but they all follow a similar framework when it comes to how they proceed. If you’re injured by another person or party, it’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of how your case is likely to proceed.
Your first move after an accident should be to seek medical attention. Not all injuries are immediately visible, and some take time for symptoms to manifest. It’s vital you seek medical attention not only for the sake of your personal well-being, but also because if you delay seeking medical attention, it could impact your case negatively. An insurance claim adjuster or a jury may assume you weren’t as badly hurt as you claim if you fail to seek immediate medical care.
After you’ve addressed your medical concerns, you should ensure a police report of your accident has been filed. This report and the medical report you receive from your doctor are two of the most crucial documents for building your case. Once you have obtained your medical and police reports, you should contact a reliable mankato personal injury attorney to represent your case. Take your time when choosing an attorney, and don’t shy away from asking what your chances of winning look like. A good attorney will give you an honest interpretation of your situation and what you might expect from pursuing a lawsuit.
Starting the Lawsuit Process
The legal process is by no means quick, even for very straightforward cases. Most personal injury cases take months or years to resolve. Throughout the entire process, you and your attorney will likely meet with the defense on a regular basis for settlement negotiations. Many civil actions are settled through negotiations rather than litigation whenever possible. Litigation is a more time-consuming, expensive, and risky endeavor. If you are able to obtain a fair settlement and avoid a lawsuit, it is advisable to do so in most situations.
If you do not settle your case, or a mutually-agreeable settlement does not appear possible, your case will proceed through the litigation process. After your attorney investigates your incident and the relevant evidence, they’ll kicks off the lawsuit by issuing a complaint to the defendant, or the party you’re suing. Once the lawsuit has been filed with the court and a complaint has been sent to the defendant, the defense will respond.
Questions and Discovery
Both sides of a lawsuit will issue questions to the other party. After these questions have been answered, the defense will likely require you to undergo a medical examination from one of their own doctors in order to obtain a second opinion. After these requirements, depositions will begin. A deposition is when one side of a lawsuit interviews the other. Your attorney will interview the defendant and the defense’s witnesses, and the defense will interview you and your witnesses. Depositions are similar to court testimony, and a court reporter will be present to document the statements. Depositions can also be used during a trial.
In some cases, expert witnesses will be necessary to determine specific details of a case. Both sides must disclose the names of their expert witnesses, and both sides will then depose these witnesses. The discovery process describes the exchange of evidence and any materials, witnesses, or other information pertinent to the case. This is a lengthy process, and the court may dictate that mediation is necessary.
An impartial third party will attempt to reach a settlement, and if mediation is unsuccessful, the trial proceeds. A trial can be over in as little as one day, but more often takes several days or weeks to conclude. Once the trial is over, the judge will make a determination as to how much you are owed for your injuries and damages. Minnesota operates under a contributory negligence law, meaning if you are found partially at fault for your accident your compensation will be reduced by a proportionate amount.
Regardless of your unique situation, one of the best assets you can have is a reliable, qualified attorney with a proven track record of success to help guide you through you case.