You were involved in an accident, and now you want to know if you need to take your claim to the next stage of being a lawsuit, but you’re not sure about what kind of commitment you’ll have to give for it to be a lawsuit. Well, let me tell you the basic time commitments and processes that are involved in a lawsuit. Once a lawsuit is filed, the parties typically engage in what is called discovery. And that is just what it entails. They are learning facts about each other’s case. That brings the client into the lawsuit because he or she will have to answer questions, provide documents or other items that are important to establishing what actually happened in the underlying crash.
After this discovery is exchanged, it typically involves a client coming to the attorney’s office or an agreed upon location to give a deposition. What is a deposition? A deposition is essentially a question and answer session about the person who’s making the claim to give the facts of the crash, the facts of their damages, discuss all the harms and losses and any other information that can be important to the underlying facts of the case. The only caveat with a deposition is that it’s given under oath, which means you have an obligation to tell the truth about the things that you say in the deposition.
Once the discovery process is complete, usually capping off with a deposition, there will be some attempt to resolve the case short of the expense and burden of going to a full-blown trial. This is through a process called dispute resolution. The most common dispute resolution practice currently is called mediation. Mediation is a process where the two sides get together with a mutual third party and discuss the positives and negatives of each other’s case and try to work out a compromise somewhere between the middle of the two sides so the case can be resolved. It’s often very successful, and it’s a very good time when the parties can see the other side’s case from the other perspective and realize the strengths and weaknesses of their own side.
If the mediation process doesn’t work, then you’ll be going to a trial. A trial can last anywhere from as short as an hour to several weeks or even months at a time, depending on the issues in your case.