When an injury case cannot be settled, you file a lawsuit. At Holland & Usry, we sometimes feel it's in our client's best interest to file a lawsuit without extensive negotiation with the insurance company—but we never make this decision without a long, detailed talk with you about what that means and then allow you to make that decision.
After a lawsuit is filed, the case is considered to be in “litigation,” which is just a fancy word for the lawsuit process. This is what generally happens in the litigation process:
- We file the lawsuit, called a Complaint. It's a legal document that states the basic reasons why we're suing the wrongdoer who hurt you. You are called the plaintiff and the wrongdoer is called the defendant. The lawsuit asks for money compensation called damages.
- In response, the defendant files an Answer. This document will often deny the defendant did anything wrong to hurt you. It will state a lot of defenses that the opposing side thinks excuse the defendant from hurting you. Many times these excuses are just smokescreens to avoid paying you enough for the harm you suffered.
- Next, discovery begins. This is a process where the parties exchange the evidence they have about the case. It has two basic parts—written discovery and depositions.
- Later, in many cases, mediation occurs. Mediation is a process where the parties hire an experienced lawyer not participating in the case to help them try to settle it.
- Trial depositions of doctors. In a South Carolina personal injury trial, your doctor must testify to link your injuries and treatment to the crash or fall or malpractice. We usually do this by videotaped trial deposition. We wait until right before trial to do it because it is generally the most expensive evidence—doctors charge for their time (as they should, since we're taking them away from their other patients), and we have to pay both a court reporter and a certified videographer to do it right.
- If the case cannot be settled earlier, we usually go to court for a trial about 14-24 months after we file suit. No matter how long your case goes on or how hopeless settlement might seem, settlement can occur at any time. Some cases even settle as the jury deliberates.
At Holland & Usry, we help personal injury victims throughout South Carolina, especially in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union counties. If you have a personal injury case you think might involve a lawsuit, feel free to call us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 877.230.1841 for a free meeting to talk about it with us.