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How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Progresses in Wisconsin

Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, the legal process, civil lawsuitDespite the fact that many people may likely end up involved in a lawsuit at some point in their lives, most people do not understand the way that a lawsuit progresses. It can be a good idea for people who are about to file a lawsuit to understand the phases it goes through. This enables them to understand the progress being made on their case as it happens, rather than feeling like the court is just leaving them in limbo. A personal injury lawsuit, like the kind that follows a car accident, can be broken down into three broad sections: pleading, discovery, and trial.

The Pleadings

The pleadings are the earliest part of the personal injury lawsuit. They begin with a legal document called the complaint. The complaint is filed by the plaintiff - the person injured - and it lets the court know generally what the lawsuit is about. Usually it provides a summary of important facts, as well as the legal claims being made. Once the complaint is filed, it must be “served” on the defendant. This means that a copy of the complaint is sent to the other side, along with a summons telling them to appear in court.

After the complaint is served, the defendant has time to file an answer. An answer to a complaint lets the court know which facts in the complaint the defendant agrees with and which they will dispute over the course of the case. The answer may also include affirmative defenses. These are defenses that involve extra facts the defendant will want to prove that nullify the plaintiff's case.

Discovery

After the pleadings are filed, the personal injury lawsuit moves into the discovery stage. During discovery the parties both exchange information that they have with the other side, so that both sides can build the best case. The is done through a variety of ways including by exchanging documents, answering written questionnaires, and having the lawyers conduct interviews of the other side.

This stage gives both sides a clearer picture of their case and their chances at winning a trial. Consequently, it is very common for a case to settle during this phase. In fact, almost 97 percent of cases settle without ever going to the trial phase, according to government research.

The Trial

If the case is not among that 97 percent, then it goes to trial once discovery ends. At trial, both sides make an opening statement laying out what they are going to attempt to prove. Then, they present evidence like documents and witness testimony to try to support their side of the case. The trial then ends with closing arguments by both sides where they attempt to persuade the judge or jury that their view of the facts and law is the correct one.

Lawsuits may involve a lot of complex procedure, but injured victims do not need to face the legal system alone. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney today.

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