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What does a typical personal injury suit entail?

Those who have been victimized by negligent or reckless motorists may suffer physically, emotionally and financially. After a car crash in which another was at fault, a victim may consider filing a personal injury suit against the other driver. While each case is unique, there are some common steps to a personal injury lawsuit that a Virginia attorney can expand upon.

The first step, once one's immediate medical needs are met, is usually to meet with a personal injury attorney. The lawyer will likely ask numerous questions, such as what happened, what are the nature and extent of injuries, did the victim speak with anyone else about the incident and so on. The injured party is likely to have countless questions themselves, and the initial consultation is a starting point for securing solid answers. Next is likely to be the actual filing of court documents to initiate the civil suit.

Before an actual trial takes place, what is known as the "discovery" phase of a personal injury suit commences. During this step, both sides disclose relevant information and facts to the other side so as to minimize surprises during trial. Also pre-trial, various motions or requests by attorneys for rulings on specific issues may take place. Some motions, known as dispositive motions, have the ability to end litigation before it proceeds to trial. Finally, a settlement may also take place before a trial even begins.

Should litigation go to trial, either a jury or a judge will decide if the defendant is indeed legally responsible for the harm done to the defendant. In car accident cases, this harm may be in the form of physical injuries, property damage, pain and suffering and various financial losses, such as medical expenses. If the car accident victim wins at trial, the next step is typically to collect damages. The defendant may appeal certain decisions. If so, this is usually the final phase in a personal injury suit that goes to trial.

Source: FindLaw, "Stages of a personal injury case," Accessed May 8, 2015

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