Lawsuit Basics

The First Step is to File the Lawsuit

Before filing a lawsuit I will try to negotiate a settlement with either the insurance company or the other party directly.  Usually, the circumstances will either be closeness to the statute of limitations or the insurance company is refusing to offer a fair settlement.

In over 90% of the time cases are settled before or during trial.  The keys to obtaining a favorable settlement are preparing vigorously for trial and for the client to remain active in the case.   This happens when the client and attorney are working hand-in-hand.  I work one-on-one with clients and don't use secretaries or paralegals.  This allows me to better understand your case and to learn every detail.  There is no way information can be lost in the translation from you to my office when I am the only one handling the information.

The following are the steps of a lawsuit.

A. The Complaint

    The complaint is the document filed on behalf of the injured party in court. In Illinois the complaint must be fact specific, that is it must include facts.  Once the complaint is filed a summons is issued and served by the Sheriff.  Once that takes place the defendant has 30 days to file either an answer or a motion claiming a defect in the complaint.   Many times the motion is either to strike a portion of the complaint or to dismiss the complaint.  The compliant can be amended with leave of the court and many times that is necessary.  The next step in the lawsuit process is called discovery.

B. The Discovery Process

Once all parties to the litigation have been served, all parties are entitled to know certain facts the other side has in its possession.  The parties learn about these facts through a series of discovery techniques.  They include interrogatories, requests to admit facts, request for production of documents and depositions. Discovery is where cases are won or lost.  It is very important that the right information is asked for during discovery.  If discovery is conducted properly there is a good chance the other side will settle the case because they will realize how weak their case is.  Also discovery is where the client can learn everything the other side has about them.  I work directly with my clients on discovery to ensure we get maximum benefit.

C.  Mediation or Arbitration

Depending on where the lawsuit is filed, some courts have either mandatory mediation or arbitration.  This is basically where a third party listens to the facts which are presented by each attorney, sometimes hears evidence directly from the witnesses and makes a determination as to who is at fault and how much should be awarded.  Depending on the venue this may be binding on one party, both parties or neither party.  It is important to have an experienced attorney with you at this stage of the process.

D. The Trial

If at the end of the process the parties cannot come to a resolution, there will be a trial where either a judge or jury will decide the issue.  The key to a successful trial is solid preparation.  I am experienced in front of both judges and juries.  Call 312-505-5038 in the Chicago area of 312-505-5038 for the rest of the State of Illinois to talk directly to Pete.  I never charge to speak with you about your initial employment issue.  I am here to help protect your rights.


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