What Factors Cause A Personal Injury Claim To Go To Litigation?
There are many factors that can cause a case to go to litigation. One of the most common is presenting a claim without enough time to resolve it before the statute of limitations. If you are approaching a statute of limitations, your lawyer has to file a complaint in order to preserve it.
Other factors that affect the likelihood of going to litigation include whether the insurance company has assigned an experienced adjuster or a new adjuster. It is harder to deal with new adjusters because they have less authority. When you are dealing with an inexperienced adjuster, you sometimes have to file suit so the claim can be assigned to someone with more experience.
Timeline Of A Personal Injury Case
It is important to remember that there is a difference between litigation and trial. Litigation is the following of a complaint, and the process of preparing through trial. Trial, on the other hand, is very specific and refers to the presentation of evidence to a judge, or jury and having them decide the merits of the case.
Filing a Complaint
The process of litigation starts with filing of a complaint. Therefore, when a case goes to litigation, a complaint is filed, and that is the listing of facts, which are asserted on behalf of the injured party. The other side then has an opportunity to respond to each of those facts in the complaint.
Process of Discovery
After the complaint is filed, both sides engage in what is called the Process of Discovery. This process starts with initial disclosures where both sides are required to share with each other all of the documents and information, which they intend to rely on if the case was to go to trial. That means giving the other side access to all medical records that we would use at trial as well as any photographs, and reports of the investigation. It also includes identifying witnesses who have information that will support the claim, witnesses to the accident, as well as witnesses to the person’s medical care and recovery. This would include a listing of individuals who might be called upon to provide testimony on the individual’s life, and how they have been affected by this accident.
After initial disclosures are made, the parties can engage in additional discovery through written questions if the case goes to superior court, or through depositions of the parties, as well as medical providers. If cases are filed in Alaska in the district court, trial is typically six months out from the filing of the answer. In superior court, cases are set for trial twelve months out.