Are you dealing with a personal injury case for the first time? If you’re considering retaining an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you with the legal process of a lawsuit, you probably want to know what to expect.
While no two cases are the same, personal injury lawsuits in Wisconsin typically adhere to a similar process, which is helpful to get acquainted with ahead of your case.
This article will provide important information regarding filing a personal injury claim, as well as what to expect during the discovery and mediation process for a personal injury case in Wisconsin.
When Should I File a Personal Injury Claim in Wisconsin?
There are two primary questions that need to be addressed in order to decide how quickly a lawsuit must be filed after a personal injury.
1. Is the Client Still Recovering from the Injuries?
If they are, it may be advantageous to hold off the lawsuit until a full understanding of the injuries is assessed, as well as a prognosis for the future.
2. What Is the Statute of Limitations for the Applicable Lawsuit?
With many personal injury cases, a letter is sent to the other party’s insurance company outlining the liability and/or damage issues. This is accompanied by a dollar amount requested to resolve the case without filing a lawsuit in the first place. Although sometimes successful, this agreement is commonly not made and both parties are forced to file anyway.
Most Wisconsin personal injury actions have a three-year window where a lawsuit can be filed. This process begins by drafting and submitting a complaint. After being filed, the adverse party usually is given 45 days to file a document answering the original complaint.
The case is then assigned to a judge who establishes case deadlines through a pre-trial conference usually carried out over the phone. After these dates are set, the process usually referred to as Discovery begins.
What to Expect During the Discovery Process
Discovery is commonly made up of three distinct steps:
Each party has the opportunity to send the other questions that must be answered in 30 days.
Request for Production of Documents
This is very similar to the prior step. Each party can send written requests asking for any documents relevant to the case.
At this point, testimonies are given under oath where the opposing attorney presents questions to the witness. It’s not uncommon for spouses, witnesses to the accident, and doctors to give depositions if they’re relevant to the case. The purpose of the deposition process is to give attorneys a chance to get a sense of how witnesses may be perceived by the court, as well as provide an opportunity to gather information from questioning.
For cases that involve issues and details too complex for a jury to understand, each party has the opportunity to name an expert witness to assist.
If you’re dealing with a serious injury, the opposing attorney will likely request an independent medical examination or IME. This means the defense will hire a doctor to examine your condition and give an opinion that will likely be unfavorable to your case. Establishing the doctor’s bias can effectively void the assessment.
The Mediation Process
After the discovery process is complete, the case enters mediation––a more informal process involving a neutral attorney or judge selected by the attorneys who acts as a mediator in charge of reaching a settlement agreement between each party. Usually, this is where the case ends with a dollar figure both parties agree to in order to prevent the case from going to court.
While your case will likely end with a settlement, some cases do go all the way to trial. The advantage of choosing Madison personal injury law firm Stangl Law is that Attorney Pat Stangl approaches each case, prepared to go to trial if necessary. If you hire a Wisconsin personal injury law firm with this approach, you can be confident that you’ll be prepared to undergo that process.
FREE Personal Injury Case Evaluation
Should you find yourself in need of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Madison, know that Wisconsin Attorney Patrick J. Stangl brings over 25 years of experience and a commitment to excellence to every client he represents.
If you've been injured in Wisconsin and would like to learn what to do to file a personal injury claim, Attorney Stangl is happy to provide at no obligation a FREE personal injury case evaluation to discuss your situation and explore your options. Click the link below if you're ready to learn more about filing a personal injury claim.