Today, anyone in need of legal representation after an accident where someone must be held accountable is faced with an unending number of websites and advertisements for personal injury lawyers. The challenge is knowing what to look for in a personal injury lawyer that will make that lawyer a suitable candidate for successfully handing your case. As a consumer of legal services, the first thing that must be determined is if the lawyer has trial experience.
The average person does not necessarily have the experience to differentiate between many lawyers in Philadelphia that advertise the fact that they are experienced litigators that have mediated and arbitrated cases, and those that have actual trial experience. It is imperative to understand that litigating, mediating and arbitrating cases is not the same thing as having trial experience and having tried cases to juries and to verdicts. The question that must be asked is how are they different from trial experience?
Litigation happens before an actual jury trial. The litigation process is where the lawyers representing the two parties on either side of a case pre-trial participate in the discovery process. This is where they exchange interrogatories and documents they also use this part of the process to take depositions of the parties and of witnesses. This can include depositions do medical expert witnesses in a personal injury case.
Mediation is also a pre-trial process where the two parties in a case agree to bring their differences before a hired mediator in an effort to resolve the case. An arbitration is a trial in lieu of jury trial but it is held in front of an agreed to arbitrator or arbitrators, who are not members of the public like a jury. An arbitration panel is typically made up of experienced lawyers who are familiar with the legal aspects and legal issues of the case, while a jury is not.
Each of these three processes constitutes a very important part of the personal injury case process with litigation process being mandatory in most cases. What is important to also know is that for an attorney to be highly qualified to handle a personal injury case, that attorneys must also have verified trial experience, as well as experience litigating, mediating and arbitrating cases.
In order to have trial experience, the attorney must have tried cases to juries. Having experience in litigation of a personal injury case, mediation and arbitration is completely different than having trial experience.
A trial is where the two sides appear before a judge and jury of actual people from the community where the trial lawyers must finalize their clients’ case. This is the first of a number of aspects that anyone seeking the services of a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia must understand in order to choose the legal representation that best suits their case and circumstances.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.