The Information Resource For Accident Victims In Pennsylvania

What are Some Basic Things I Should Know About Litigating a Personal Injury Case?


Who decides if a case should go to trial or should settle?

It is your lawyer’s job to advise you in the decision making process of whether to settle or to go to trial. The risks of trial can outweigh the risks of settling your case. If you settle, you know the amount of money you are receiving as compensation for your injuries. Going to trial means that you are leaving that decision to twelve people you do not know, and who don’t know you. In addition, the costs of going to trial are usually much greater than the costs on your case before trial. Of course, by settling, you risk the unknown of “what would the jury have awarded me.” Ultimately, the decision is yours.


What is a deposition?

A deposition is an opportunity for the defense attorney to interview you in my presence. At the deposition the defense attorney will ask you questions about how your accident occurred, what your injuries were, what treatment you received, etc. You must be prepared for your deposition. All the questions that you answer are fair game for discussion by the defense attorney, so as soon as you open the door for questions, the defense attorney can you ask you more and more about your case, about how your accident occurred, about your treatment, and so on. That is why it is important that you prepare for your deposition, and under no circumstances should you be attending your deposition alone. At your deposition your attorney must attend with you.


What is a settlement conference?

A settlement conference is an opportunity for both sides to meet with a trial judge. What happens in a settlement conference is, your attorney and the defense attorney meet in the chambers of the trial judge, and the three of them discuss your case. Your attorney’s job is to maximize your case; the defense attorney’s job is to minimize your case. Your attorney’s job is to present your case in the light which is most favorable, to talk about how the injuries so affected your life; the defense’s job is to minimize your injuries, to put some of the blame of the accident on you. The judge will discuss the potential value of the case and what the potential jury verdict will be to try and sway both sides toward a middle ground. A settlement conference typically happens at a later stage in the case, after all the depositions are completed and after all the discoveries are completed, and right before trial.


What is the jury selection process in Pennsylvania?

At the beginning of a case, a jury pool, which is the group of people who will be potentially chosen as the jury, is brought into the courtroom. The plaintiff (those who are suing) and the defense (those being sued) both have the opportunity to question and remove people from the jury pool. The goal of the selection process is to have a balanced, impartial jury.


What is mediation?

Mediations are meetings in which the plaintiff, defendant, and all attorneys meet to see if a settlement can be reached. Mediations occur before a mediator (often a retired attorney or judge) who listens to each side’s story. If a settlement still cannot be reached by the end of mediation then the case must go to trial.Of course, the parties can continue discussing resolution of the case up to and through trial, even until a final verdict is rendered.


How can a “Notice of Dismissal Without Prejudice” be defined?

A notice of dismissal signifies that a lawsuit has been dropped or dismissed. There are many reasons that this could happen. The bright side, however, is that the words “without prejudice” mean the lawsuit may be filed again at some point in the future. In this scenario, the time limit for re-filing a lawsuit is still subject to the statute of limitations.


What happens if my case does not settle?

What is the next step after a case does not settle? What does this mean for you as a client? Stuart Carpey explains the answer to this common client question.


What is the process of settling a personal injury case?

What are the steps we follow after a client is involved in an accident and before a lawsuit is filed? Stuart Carpey discusses the process.


Is it worth going through the process of settling a personal injury case?

Clients sometimes ask if going through the process of a personal injury case is really worth it. While you are the only one who can answer that question, Stuart Carpey discusses a few points to consider when making this important decision.


What is “service of process” and how does it apply to my case?

After a lawsuit is filed, the party bringing the lawsuit has a responsibility of serving the lawsuit papers on the defendant. Otherwise the defendant would have no knowledge of the lawsuit and would be unable to defend against it. Service of process rules differ from state to state. However whether service is made by the sheriff of a particular county, or by a private process server, the legal documents must be personally delivered to the defendant. This typically means that they must be personally handed to him or her Mail is not sufficient. When it comes to corporate defendants, it is important for your lawyer to confirm that the correct and proper entity is being sued. Not properly and timely serving a defendant can nullify the filing of the complaint and jeopardize a client’s rights pursuant to each state’s statute of limitation rules. Therefore, it is extremely important that your lawyer not only files a complaint in a timely and proper manner, but also serves the complaint to the proper defendants as required by the state rules.

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