Whether it be from a car accident, slip-and-fall, trip-and-fall, intentional act (such as assault and battery), medical malpractice, products liability, defamation, or many other incidents, Alaskans get hurt. And often times, the injuries suffered are due to the actions or inactions of other people or entities. If this is the case, it is advisable to contact and ultimately retain a Personal Injury Attorney Alaska to advocate for you during the legal process and help you recover compensation for your injuries.
So what does the “legal process” entail?
First, you meet with your attorney and provide the Personal Injury Attorney Alaska as much information and documentation as possible. Following that meeting, your attorney should perform an investigation, including obtaining all medical records, police reports, accident reports, photographs, surveillance and the like in order to piece together the story to tell.
Once all that information is procured, your attorney will draft a “complaint,” the document that lays out the allegations of wrongdoing against any defendants. That document gets filed with the Court—something that MUST be done within two years of the date of the incident—and then served upon (or delivered to) the defendants.
Within a prescribed period, the defendant(s) must serve an “answer” to the complaint, which will typically deny the claims and, possibly, assert counterclaims against the plaintiff.
Once this “pleading” period is over, the parties are likely to enter into “discovery,” where information will be exchanged between the parties, through the use of depositions, written questions and document demands. This phase of litigation often takes many months.
Next, when discovery is complete, the parties may file “motions,” where they ask the court for certain relief, sometimes seeking to eliminate some—if not all—of the claims, counterclaims and defenses asserted by the parties.
Unless all issues are determined by the court on motions, the trial will be scheduled. At trial, attorneys will give opening statements to a judge or jury, followed by the questioning of witnesses, and then closing statements. The jury will then be given the legal issues to decide based on the facts. The jury will then decide (i) whether the defendants were responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and, if so, (ii) the value of the plaintiff’s injuries.
At any time during this process, the parties may “settle” the lawsuit by negotiating an agreed upon number rather than moving forward. Settlements are reached more than 95% of the time, and for many reasons including (i) the risk of not knowing how a jury will decide at trial, (ii) the amount of a potential award a jury may give at trial, (iii) the time and expense of protracted litigation and (iv) the ability of the parties to make good witnesses.
After years of law school and practicing “in the trenches” of the world of litigation, a Personal Injury Attorney Alaska is ready to help you prosecute your claims. Rather than trying to go it alone, where you can harm your chances by not knowing the law, rules and procedures, it is advisable to retain a competent attorney.