The Anatomy of a Lawsuit
How The Injured Gets Justice
The Pursuit of Justice Requires a Willingness to Fight for it
People often like to believe of themselves, loved ones, and even their friends as being invincible. While aware potential threats do exist, auto accidents, work-related injuries and malpractice are things read about in papers that happen to other people. Yet while we all would like to paint a portrait of our life secure from tragedy and turmoil, unfortunately, as we know at Clark Fountain, reality has a way of quickly editing our picture-perfect world, and in one swift instant, injury buckles our knees.
Rarely can anything be as painfully traumatic as suddenly falling victim to a severe injury or losing a loved one to a tragic event. The unbearable pain and agony is enough to cripple the strongest of us all. Yet finding out the injury or wrongful death of a loved one would have otherwise been avoidable had it not been for someone else’s irresponsibility and negligence?—A nightmare no one should be forced to endure.
Even more troubling, when the medical bills pile up and lost wages begins to threaten the most common of needs, such as the electric company being unwilling to understand and the kitchen cabinets growing bare, insurance companies and those whose negligence was at fault turn their backs and slam doors in your face!
Frustration, stress, and worry can easily drive anyone to their breaking point. You should not be forced to suffer the pain and suffering of an injury or grieve over a loss that was the fault of others and yet be left to shoulder the financial burdens alone!
You desperately need assistance! You need help! You beg for vindication and long for justice as if it were all needed to heal! However, no amount of financial compensation can heal pain or erase grief of a loved one lost, making those responsible stands accountable and pay for their lack of responsibility can relieve your shoulders of tremendous burdens and make tomorrow seem somewhat brighter than the days since the tragedy occurred. This is where Clark Fountain come in.
To Find Justice
The first step toward receiving the desperately sought justice so many injury victims and their families seek is finding an attorney experienced and skilled in discovering it. Clark Fountain’s knowledge of injury cases, great, their courtroom prowess, and their confidence in fighting insurance company’s legal teams, nothing short of fearless.
The truth is insurance companies will stop at little to deny claims and poorly compensate the injured. Their business is making money—not giving it away. Therefore, personal injury lawsuits are routinely the most vehemently defended of all litigation. However, while an injured stands little chance against insurance company’s scandalous tactics and million-dollar legal teams alone, one attorney can indeed stand before a packed courtroom and honestly make it rain!
However, the pursuit of an injury victim’s justice begins long before a courtroom appearance. There are many intricate steps to an injury lawsuit. Strategic planning, unwavering dedication to detail, and investigative skills unmatched by most all are critical to an attorney’s ability to obtain justice for their client. A client who has been left injured, uncertain about tomorrow, and backed so far into a corner that fighting back with an injury lawsuit was the only recourse they had left.
The First Phases of an Injury Lawsuit
The first step toward an injured obtaining their justice begins with an initialconsultation. These initial consultations are typically free of charge as the attorney has yet to accept the challenge that lies ahead. Here, the attorney will listen to the injured and/or their family as they tell of the event, which left their lives in turmoil.
After the initial consultation, an evaluation takes place. During this evaluation, evidence is collected, data processed, and if the victims have a chance of finding justice at all, it will be found throughout this evaluation period. This is where the attorney will attempt to investigate all aspects of the victim’s possible case.
Their focus will be upon the moments just before tragedy struck and whether its occurring could have been avoided. If so, why might it been avoided? Who made the critical error that led to the victim’s injury? If discovered that it was the fault of someone else’s negligence, the attorney’s pursuit for the victim’s justice will be aggressively sped up and an injury lawsuit underway.
The Pleading Phase
After taking the injury victim’s case, the attorney will file the lawsuit in court, and aSummons and Complaint will be sent to the defendants (those responsible) and the insurance company who refuses to compensate.
These documents will advise the defendants and their attorneys of the case the attorney and his or her client is making, the errors and/or negligence that was to blame, severity of the victim’s injury, and its impact upon the victim’s quality of life. A Statement of Claim may be served detailing the exact remedy the victim expects to receive.
The defendant’s attorneys will then have 20 days to respond and serve the injured and their attorney with an Answer. However, it is not uncommon for the defendant’s attorneys to file for a dismissal first. Here, there could be several strategic maneuvers made in an attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed. Once the validity of the injury victim’s case is no longer an issue, the defendant’s attorneys will have no choice but to answer.
The Answer will list all the details the defendants and their attorneys believe prove that the defendants are not responsible-liable-for the injuries sustained and point out all the issues they intend to argue. If the defendant feels that victim was of some fault or wishes to Counterclaim, their attorneys would typically do so here.
The document exchanges will continue to take place throughout this paperwork phase, including Depositions. Here, both parties will file Interrogatories and questionstatements of fact from the victim, the negligent defendant, witnesses, and even the victim’s doctors to determine who will say what when/if the injury lawsuit makes it into a courtroom and if so, how well will these people making the statements be received by the jury.
These depositions can be in writing, video, or audio recording and all intent on the parties getting a good idea as to where they each will stand during trial. Do the parties seem reliable? Do they seem trustworthy? Honest? Will those who offer damaging testimony be received as credible?
The defendant’s attorneys and insurance company legal firms will routinely ask the victim to meet with a medical professional of their choice to better determine the extent of the injury and how it might impact the victim’s quality of life in the future.
After all the documents, depositions, and discovery of facts have been filed, served, and gone over, and there still remains issues to be argued and/or disputed, the injury lawsuit will proceed to trial.
However, prior to the trial phase, the court will request all parties involved to mediate the case before an independent mediator unaffiliated with either of the parties involved. To be honest, only a small percentage of injury lawsuits make it past the mediation stage of the lawsuit.
Usually, by the time, mediation begins, the parties will have learned enough about their chances during trial to come to a resolution — settlement. Only in the more extreme cases in which neither side is willing to budge will the lawsuit continue further. However, in the event mediation does not resolve the issue, the injury lawsuit proceeds to trial.
Trial Preparation: Demand for Jury
When a civil lawsuit has proceeded to the trial phase, having a jury hear the case is not an automatically a given. If the plaintiff’s attorney believes, their client stands a better chance of a favorable verdict if a jury is not demanded and therefore, for strategic reasoning alone, the attorney may waive the right for a jury to hear the case.
In addition, if the plaintiff’s attorney does not Demand for Jury in the proper amount of time allotted, the court may waive the plaintiff’s right to a jury. Yet many have already included the demand within their client’s initial complaint.
During jury selection, many potential jurors may be excluded due to their affiliation with either party involved in the lawsuit, having previously worked within the court system, or may have been convicted of a felony. Others may ask to be removed due to personal issues such as their being needed at home to attend of their children or elderly parents, work in law enforcement, or mother who are expecting.
After those who are not allowed to be on the jury, and those who were permitted to exclude themselves have left, attorneys from both sides will then begin asking specific questions to each remaining potential juror to determine their competence, bias, or non-bias opinions and to ensure the juror is not related to or personally knows either plaintiff or defendant. After the attorneys have concluded their selections and the jury is set, the trial is ready to begin.
While often referred to as “Opening Arguments,” the attorneys really are not necessarily arguing their case. Instead, each attorney will inform the jury of the case specifics, as well as how they intend to prove their case using evidence and testimony throughout the trial.
After opening statements have concluded, the defendant’s attorneys will likely ask the court for a Direct Verdict on the grounds the plaintiff’s case lacks sufficient evidence and therefore there is really nothing left to argue before the jury. While the court has the right to do enter a direct verdict and end the trial on a Direct Verdict, in the event either side pushes for an appeal, the appellate court will dissect the lower court’s decisions carefully and could strongly question the verdict. Therefore, the court will usually reverse the ruling and allow the plaintiff to proceed with the trial.
This is the injury victim’s chance to receive justice. Finally, those who will make the decision in their case will be hearing testimony, examining the evidence, and listening as their attorney advocates their need to receive justice. Everything rides on their attorney’s ability to articulate the victim’s case in a manner that both validate the victim’s claims and discredits the defendant’s.
The evidence has now been submitted. The jury has heard testimony from doctors, eyewitnesses and every detail of the incident and the victim’s injury has been laid out for the jury to absorb. Now, all that remains is their attorney’s closing argument.
They will speak directly to the jury in an attempt to further solidify their client deserving justice and the financial compensation they were denied. After the defense has given their closing argument, the attorney will be allowed a rebuttal. This is the last step in receiving justice for the victim. As soon as the attorney finishes his or her rebuttal, justice for the injured will be in the jury’s hands alone.
The judge will instruct the jury they not only must access fault, but also access damages as well. After the jury has been instructed, they will deliberate and return with the verdict
Awaiting the verdict can be an agonizing period. Minutes seem like days! When the jury returns from deliberations, justice is but a mere moment away.
The attorney has did all they could possibly do. Painstaking investigations, relentless filing of documents, motions, and the taking of depositions have all led up to this moment. The victim has dreamed of this moment since before stepping foot in their attorney’s office for the initial consultation so long ago.
As the verdict is read, the victim hears those words “find for the plaintiff,” and the list of damages, lost wages, future medical expenses, and punitive damages for their pain, suffering and to better help improve their quality of life: Justice is overwhelming their every emotion!
The injured has now been vindicated. Those responsible now held accountable and the injured has received their justice.©ClarkFountain March 2014