Anatomy of a Michigan Personal Injury Claim (Part 2)
April 27th, 2023
If you were hurt and someone else was at fault, Muth Law, P.C. will help you understand the personal injury claim process and fight for the compensation you deserve. We will typically start by negotiating with the other party’s insurance company to try to arrive at a just resolution to your claim. But if the insurance company is unwilling to make a fair offer, we will file a lawsuit to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Muth Law has a proven record of success for successfully resolving personal injury claims through settlement negotiations and at trial. Our lawyers have the experience, resources, and expertise to successfully resolve your case, and we know what it takes to win.
Filing the Complaint
A lawsuit begins by filing a Complaint. The Complaint is a short, plain statement of what happened and why you are entitled to compensation. The Complaint must establish the court’s jurisdiction and include a demand for the relief you seek.
Before filing the Complaint, you understand the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations sets the time period within which you must file your Complaint. If you file the Complaint outside of the statute of limitations, your case will be dismissed, and you will be barred from recovering compensation for your injuries.
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in Michigan is three years from the date the injury occurred. But the statute of limitations can vary depending on how your injury occurred, the victim’s age, and other factors. For instance, the statute of limitations for most medical malpractice claims is two years.
One reason Muth Law offers a free consultation is because it is so important that you correctly identify the statute of limitations. We would much rather that you meet with us to learn that you do not have a case rather than that you came to us too late only to discover that you did have a claim but cannot file it because the statute of limitations passed.
The Defendants’ Answer
Once the Complaint has been filed, the court will serve the defendant(s). Service is the process by which a defendant is formally notified that they have been named in a lawsuit.
A defendant has 21 days to respond after they have been served with a Complaint.
The defendant(s) must respond by filing an Answer or another responsive pleading.
After all of the defendants have answered, discovery begins. Discovery is the process by which the lawyers learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the case the other side intends to present.
In written discovery, the parties exchange a series of written questions.
- Interrogatories are written questions used to establish basic facts about the lawsuit. Common questions include a person’s name, age, occupation, and information about when and where the incident that gave rise to the lawsuit occurred.
- Requests for Production of Documents are formal requests to provide documents containing information about the lawsuit that may be presented as evidence at trial. In a personal injury claim, the defendants will request the plaintiff’s medical records, medical bills, and employment records to establish the value of the plaintiff’s claim for damages.
- Requests for Admission ask the respondent to admit or deny certain facts. They are used to clarify whether some elements of the claim are not in dispute.
Once written discovery is complete, the lawyers will schedule depositions. Depositions usually take place in a lawyer’s office. Lawyers ask questions to learn what a person knows about the claim. A court reporter records the entire process. In some cases, the deposition is also recorded on video.
In a deposition in a car accident case, the lawyer for the defendant will ask the injured person what they remember about how the accident occurred, their injuries, and the impact those injuries have had on their life.
Depositions give the lawyers insight into how a witness will appear at trial and what the witness will say. A lawyer can also use deposition testimony to impeach a witness if they say something at trial that is markedly different from what they said during their deposition.
Pre-Trial Hearings and Settlement Negotiations
Once discovery is complete, the lawyers will meet with the judge again to discuss resolving the case without going to trial. In most cases, the judge will recommend that the parties try to resolve the personal injury claim through mediation or arbitration.
Over 95% of personal injury claims nationwide are resolved without going to trial. However, with our decades of experience, we prepare all of our cases for a trial.
If, despite our best efforts, the negligent party fails to compensate you justly, it will be scheduled for trial. At trial, the lawyers begin with opening statements, then present the facts of the case through witness testimony. Finally, the lawyers will make a closing argument when they explain why the jury should decide in favor of their client. Once closing arguments are complete, the case goes to the jury to decide who was at fault and an amount of money that will fairly compensate the victim for their injuries.
Some personal injury cases take two or three days, while others last a week or two. A very complex personal injury trial could take a month or more.
Muth Law, P.C.: Ann Arbor Injury Lawyers Serving the State of Michigan
Muth Law has extensive experience resolving Michigan personal injury claims. We have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to thoroughly investigate your case and bring it to a successful resolution.
To put our expertise to work for you, contact us today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.
Categories: Personal Injury