What is a Lawsuit?
To file a lawsuit means to present a claim or defense in a legal proceeding. It entails making a formal claim or complaint against another party in legal proceedings. A judge or jury will deliberate and come to a verdict in order to bring an end to a dispute between the parties involved.
When someone else causes you harm, such as in a car accident, a slip and fall accident, or another type of accident, filing a lawsuit is one way to get financial compensation for your injuries. Litigation may also involve insurance policies, service agreements, contracts, and other types of agreements.
What Steps Are Involved In Filing A Lawsuit In Georgia?
File a Complaint
The plaintiff, who is the party that was harmed, is the party that initiates the legal action by filing a complaint or petition. In that document, the facts of your situation and the reasons why you believe you have a legal right to monetary damages will be laid out. In addition to this, it will clearly state who is responsible for the alleged wrongdoings as well as what you want the court to do about it. It is common practice to refer to the action that you are requesting the court to take as the “request” or “prayer” for relief.
Serve the Defendant
The individual(s) or business(es) that you are taking legal action against is referred to as a defendant. When you want to let someone know that you are suing them, there is a very specific process that you have to go through first. This is referred to as “service of process,” and it typically entails having a third party physically hand the complaint to the other person, along with instructions on how they should proceed to deal with the complaint. It is common practice for this third party to be the sheriff of the county in which the individual resides; however, this is not always the case.
A document known as a “summons” is also going to be served along with the complaint that was filed. This piece of paper bears the signature of the judge, and it details the obligations that the defendant must fulfill in relation to the complaint that was filed.
The Defendant Files and Answer
The defendant will file what is known as an “answer” in response to the complaint, and this answer should address each and every one of the points that you make in your complaint. The amount of time that the defendant has to respond to the complaint will be specified in the summons.
The first thing to do when defending yourself in a lawsuit is to file an answer. There is a possibility that you will be able to obtain a default judgment if the defendant does not respond within the allotted amount of time for them to do so. This means that the defendant chose not to defend themselves, and as a result, your case is considered to be won “by default.”
The process of discovery won’t begin until the defendant has provided their response. During this stage of the process, you will gather additional information about your claim as well as any defenses that the defendant may be asserting. The process of discovery in Georgia is governed by a set of rules that are very specific.
In the course of discovery, parties will typically exchange written questions, known as interrogatories, as well as requests for documents and testimony. A deposition is a formal question-and-answer session that is transcribed by a court reporter. Depositions are typically used in legal proceedings. The person who is being deposed is placed under oath, and questions are asked about the incident, the person’s background, and other information that is relevant to the case.
The trial is the last stage of the procedure. The plaintiff will introduce their evidence and testimony first at trial. The defendant will then present their own witnesses to refute that evidence. After that, the plaintiff has one final chance to rebut any information that the defendant gave.
A judge or jury will be tasked with rendering a decision following the admission of all relevant evidence. Personal injury cases are frequently heard by a jury rather than just a judge.
It takes time and effort to complete this last step. The process of scheduling a case for a jury trial can sometimes take over a year. The discovery phase of this process takes the longest. When something like a car accident occurs, you might not even realize how much damage is caused until you have fully recovered from your injuries. All of that takes time.
What Will Happen Following The Trial?
The results of the trial will, of course, determine what steps are taken after the trial has concluded. If you are successful in your case, you will be awarded a legal judgment to be executed against the other party. It’s possible that your insurance provider will just hand you a check in certain circumstances. In some circumstances, you may be required to take specific actions in order to collect the judgment you were awarded against the defendant.
Even if you win the case, the other party has the right to appeal the verdict to a higher court. This procedure involves transferring the record to the higher court and explaining to that court why the parties believe that the lower court got it wrong. You would have the opportunity to file an appeal if you lost your case. You might also want to file an appeal if the amount that was granted to you is less than what you had requested in the first place. You and your attorney will need to come to a conclusion about how you should proceed.
This process can be quite complex and intimidating if you do not have an experienced attorney helping with your case. The Brown Firm has a team of lawyers with many years of experience handling various personal injury lawsuits.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.
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