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Personal Injury Cases: How They Work And What To Expect

What Is A Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury involves injury to an individual. This area of law allows an injured person to sue in a private action, known in the legal community as a tort action. This area of law also includes wrongful death. If you are successful, you can recover money damages for medical bills, lost income and other economic and noneconomic damages.

Below, we provide a general outline of the order of events in a personal injury case.

If you have questions about the terms used throughout this article, see the definitions section for additional information.

Where Everything Starts

It all begins with one important question - do I have a valid case?

Do I have a personal injury case?

The Case Begins...

Before a situation can truly be called a lawsuit, a few things must happen:

How to file papers for a lawsuit

What Does 'Discovery' Mean?

After the initial case documents are filed, a process known as discovery begins:

Case discovery process

Ending A Case Before Trial Even Begins

Not all cases go to trial; there are many points at which a case can be resolved with a trial or a trial verdict ever becoming necessary. This typically occurs through pretrial motions or through a settlement agreement.

Pre-Trial Motions

Settlement negotiations

In The Courtroom

If a case cannot be resolved, a trial will be necessary. When that happens, the following will usually happen:

Courtroom trial

Trial play by play

After The Verdict

Just because the trial is over, the case itself may not be.

Case appeals after trial

Still have questions? Do you have a possible case and want to know more about what to expect? Contact Clifford Law Offices at 312-899-9090 to learn more.


Personal Injury Terms Defined

Tort: A body of rights, obligations and remedies applied by courts to provide relief for persons who have suffered from wrongful acts of others
Wrongful Death: When a deceased person's estate brings a legal action against the negligent parties
Noneconomic Damages: A money sum intended to compensate an injured party or its estate for injuries and losses that are hard to quantify, such as pain and suffering, disability, physical and emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of a normal life
Pleadings: Written allegations of what is affirmed on the one side or denied on the other
Plaintiff: A person who files a civil lawsuit initiating a legal action in court
Defendant: The party named in a plaintiff's complaint against whom relief or recovery is sought
Motion: An application made to a court or judge to obtain a ruling or order directing that an act be done in favor of the applicant
Liable: Describing the condition of being actually or potentially subject to a legal obligation

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