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What to Expect When You Have a Personal Injury Claim, Part I

What Will the Legal Process Entail?

What-to-Expect-When-You-Have-a-Personal-Injury-Claim-Part-I-imgYou’ve been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, or you’ve tripped on broken pavement or stairs at a local business and suffered a debilitating injury. You know you need to take legal action to recover for your losses, but you’ve never done that before, and have no idea what to expect.

The First Phase of a Personal Injury Claim—Filing a Lawsuit

To initiate a claim in court after a personal injury, you will need to file a complaint. You could do this yourself, but you’d be at a significant disadvantage, as there are rules about where you can file your claim and how soon you must file your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney will know those rules and will ensure that your rights are protected.

Once you file your complaint, the defendant has a certain amount of time to respond (by filing an “answer” to the complaint). If the defendant fails to answer the complaint by the deadline, you can seek a default judgment.

As a general rule, in New Jersey, you have two years from the date of the accident/injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. The defendant must generally answer within 35 days of service of the complaint.

The Next Phase—Gathering the Evidence

If the defendant files a timely answer, the court will typically schedule a meeting of all parties. At that meeting, the judge will learn some of the basic details of the case, will inquire as to the likelihood that the case can be settled without trial, and will establish a timetable for “discovery,” where the parties gather evidence.

Discovery typically includes three components:

  • Depositions, where witnesses are questioned under oath and in the presence of a court reporter
  • Interrogatories, where the parties submit written questions to each other
  • Requests for production of documents or other evidence, to be examined by the other party

The discovery period can last anywhere from six months to a year, on average, though it may be longer in more complicated cases.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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