Every personal injury case in San Francisco is very different. Some cases could appear complex on the face, but the parties are able to quickly sort through the issues and reach a settlement. In other situations, a case that could appear to be very straightforward could drag on for months or years for a number of reasons.
In general, there are some common stages that most San Francisco personal injury claims go through. After the accident, the accident victim will likely choose an attorney and hire that attorney to help handle the case. In some cases, the victim may choose to go forward with the case without an attorney. If no attorney is used, the steps involved in the case are still the same, but the victim must handle them without the legal knowledge usually required.
Once an attorney is selected, he or she will begin to gather evidence to prove the claims. This could include medical bills and medical records, police reports, surveillance videos, statements from eyewitnesses, and anything else helpful to proving the case. The lawyer will also keep records of all expenses the victim has incurred in connection with the incident.
The attorney will then file a lawsuit, if after reviewing the documentation he or she believes there is a strong case. In many cases, the lawsuit is filed only after the victim has had a chance to recover as much as possible from the injuries. That is done so that the full extent of the victim’s damages are known.
After the lawsuit has been filed, there is a period allowed for discovery. Discovery involves both sides having access to information and documentation from the other. This allows both sides to investigate the other side’s case, which can help push the parties towards reaching a settlement. There are several different forms of discovery that may be used. The parties may be asked to answer questions under oath, called interrogatories. The parties involved, as well as other parties, may have to testify under oath in depositions. Each party may have to turn over documentation requested from the other party.
If the case does not settle, a trial will will occur. Trials can last for a day or less, or could last for weeks. The length of a trial often depends on the complexity of the case and the amount of damages involved. During trial, both sides will present their cases. At the end of the trial, the jury or judge will render a verdict, or there may be a mistrial. After the verdict, one or both sides may choose to appeal if there is a reason to.
If you have been injured in the San Francisco area and you have questions about how a personal injury case may proceed, call San Francisco personal injury attorney Micha Star Liberty at 510-645-1000. She can help. She works with clients throughout the area, including Oakland, Hayward, Tracy, Fairfield, Sacramento, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.