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What to Expect in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When you first embark on a personal injury lawsuit, you may be amazed at how much work goes into it. Even a truck accident lawyer in Atlanta would be able to explain to you the steps involved in such a case, but the reality can still seem overwhelming.

The most important part in a personal injury lawsuit is evaluating the extent of the injury. One of the primary elements of a personal injury case is of course some type of serious injury. This does not mean just physical injury, though. It is now widely accepted that psychological and emotional trauma is just as devastating as a broken leg or a shattered spine. If both physical and psychological injury are in evidence, that will be included in the evaluation.

The medical evaluation will involve the compilation of all the medical records for past treatments, as well as the prognosis from the attending physicians regarding future consequences of the injury. This can include costs of psychiatric treatment, rehabilitation, mobility aids, life care for those who become permanently disabled, and any surgical requirements. It can take up to a year before all these documents are complete.

In the meantime, the personal injury lawyer is moving the legal process along. The lawyer will schedule a conference to set the deadlines for discovery (up to six months), depositions (witness accounts), and pre-trial motions. These all require extensive documentation and arguments before the court, all of which will determine if the case will be dismissed or proceed to trial. It can take up to two years before a case is even ready to go to trial.

At any stage of the pre-trial preparations, mediation may be requested or required. This is the point where the parties involved will try to settle the claim out of court. If the parties do not reach an agreement, then the case will go before the court. It can take 6 months or more before a case gets on the docket. A jury is then selected that will decide if the defendant is liable and what damages should be awarded. The trial itself will take two weeks or so before going to the jury.

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