The Personal Injury Litigation Is Quite a Journey

Below is a comprehensive review to help you understand the different stages of the personal injury litigation process and what you can expect from the beginning until the time your case is resolved.

  1. Filing of Summons and Complaint with the Court.
    1. You can find a Summons online at the North Carolina Courts Website 
  2. Service of the Defendant(s) with the Summons and Complaint
    1. Finding and serving the defendant can sometimes take several months, particularly if a defendant has moved.
  3. Defendant(s) Answer to the Summons and Complaint.
    1.  The defendant(s) will have 30 days to file their answer unless they request an extension of time which is often the case.  We typically will not receive their answer until sixty days after the defendant has been served.
  4. Discovery
    1. Written discovery (Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents).  Plaintiff and Defendant are entitled to submit written requests for information regarding background, employment history, medical history and criminal history.  Each party has approximately sixty days to respond to the written discovery.  At this time, you will be asked to answer the defendant(s) questions in writing and submit your answers to us.  We will put your answers in final form including any applicable objections.  You will then review the final answers and verify that they are correct and true to the best of your knowledge.
      1. You can be prepared for this stage of litigation by working towards gathering information regarding your medical history.
  5. Depositions.
    1. Each party has the right to take oral depositions of the parties, witnesses, medical providers, etc. in an attempt to build evidence.  If your deposition is scheduled, you will meet with your attorney prior to the deposition to review what will be expected during the deposition, in the meantime you can read about how you should prepare for your deposition.
  6. Alternative dispute resolution.
    1. Arbitration or mediation.  All parties will gather with their legal representatives to discuss the merits of the case under the supervision of a trained mediator or arbitrator in an effort to reach a satisfactory settlement of the case prior to trial.  You will be meeting with your attorney prior to the alternative dispute resolution so that you may review what will be expected during the mediation. Arbitrations normally take an hour.  Mediations can take anywhere from one hour to an entire day so make sure you plan accordingly.
  7. Trial.
    1.  Trials may take a full week, but in most cases can be accomplished in 2 to 3 days.  Your presence will be required during the entire duration of trial. It is important that you dress in business clothing for any court appearance.  The jurors will notice everything from your hair to your shoes so you do not want to give them a bad impression. Here’s a good article from the Huffington Post about how you should dress for your personal injury litigation trial.

The personal injury litigation process takes time and patience.  After your lawsuit is filed with the Court it becomes subject to the Court’s case tracking system and therefore, we seldom have control in the length of time it takes to receive a trial date.  As the need arises, you will be contacted during one or more of these phases for assistance, clarification and information.

Rest assured that at Campbell & Associates is always working towards a resolution of your legal matter without having to go through the personal injury litigation process, as it is always possible to settle your case through informal negotiations prior to mediation and trial. But if we’re unable to come to a fair agreement, we’re in your corner to help you prepare for the best possible outcome. If you’ve been hurt in an accident and need assistance in the fight against the insurance company, call us today at 704-333-0885 today.

Written by: Wendy Arieta-Zelaya, Personal Injury Litigation Paralegal, Campbell & Associates, Attorneys at Law