What Does Litigation Mean in a Personal Injury Case?

By John DiBartolo on November 14, 2023

If you are using a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to file a personal injury claim, you may be wondering what litigation means in a personal injury case. In a personal injury case in Massachusetts, litigation refers to the legal process of resolving the dispute through the court system, including filing a lawsuit, conducting pre-trial proceedings, and, if necessary, going to trial for a final judgment. 

Notably, most personal injury cases do not require litigation. A vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. According to a report published by the US Department of Justice, only about four percent of personal injury cases actually go to trial. 

Stethoscope Over Book Titled 'Personal Injury Law'

Stages of Personal Injury Litigation in Massachusetts

The steps involved in the personal injury litigation process in Massachusetts typically include:

Initial Consultation: The process begins with the injured party seeking legal counsel and consulting with a personal injury attorney.

Complaint and Answer: The plaintiff files a complaint outlining the claims, and the defendant responds with an answer, presenting their defenses.

Discovery: Both parties engage in the discovery process, which includes exchanging information, documents, and evidence, as well as deposing witnesses.

Motions: Throughout the litigation, various motions may be filed by either party, including motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and other legal requests.

Pretrial Conferences: The court may schedule pretrial conferences to manage the case and encourage settlement discussions.

Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial, where both parties present their evidence, witnesses testify, and a judge or jury makes a final decision.

Verdict and Judgment: After the trial, a verdict is rendered, and a judgment is issued, specifying liability and the amount of damages awarded, if any.

Potential Appeals: Either party can file an appeal if they believe legal errors occurred during the trial or if they disagree with the judgment.  Appeals are particularly rare in personal injury cases.

Enforcement: If the judgment is in favor of the plaintiff, they may need to take steps to enforce the judgment and collect the awarded damages. Enforcement is very simple when liability insurance coverage is involved.

Read more about: How Long After an Accident Can You Sue for Personal Injury?

How Do Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Achieve Maximum Settlement and Avoid Protracted Litigation?

To avoid litigation and persuade defendants to settle quickly and fairly in a personal injury case, several factors can be influential:

Strong Evidence Collection by the Personal Injury Lawyer

  • Diligently gathering and presenting evidence can demonstrate the strength of your case.
  • Detailed medical records, accident reports, and expert opinions can make a compelling case for the plaintiff’s injuries and the defendant’s liability.

A Proven Record of Substantial Settlements and Verdicts

  • A personal injury attorney with a history of successful outcomes can leverage their reputation to encourage defendants to settle.
  • A formidable record of settlements and verdicts shows that the attorney is not only willing to go to trial but also capable of achieving favorable results.

The Law Firm’s Resources and Willingness to Hire Expert Witnesses

  • The personal injury lawyer’s ability to bring in expert witnesses can bolster the plaintiff’s case by providing authoritative testimony.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to sparing no expense in building a strong case can motivate defendants to settle to avoid the costs and risks of trial.

Strong Trial Preparedness Even During Settlement Negotiations

  • Maintaining strong trial preparedness even during settlement negotiations sends a message that the plaintiff is ready and willing to go to court if necessary.
  • This can prompt defendants to make more reasonable settlement offers to avoid the uncertainties and potential costs of a trial.

Preservation of Evidence Through Early Legal Representation Increases the Chances of Maximum Settlement Without Litigation

Preservation of evidence through early legal representation is a critical aspect of a personal injury case and has several key benefits:

Preventing Spoliation 

Spoliation refers to the intentional or negligent destruction, alteration, or loss of evidence. With early legal representation, the attorney can issue legal preservation letters to relevant parties, ensuring that crucial evidence is not tampered with or destroyed.

Securing Witnesses 

Timely legal representation allows for the prompt identification and interview of witnesses while their memories are fresh and before they become unavailable.

Collection of Physical and Forensic Evidence 

Early involvement of an attorney ensures that physical evidence, such as accident scene evidence, photos and videos, surveillance camera footage, black box data, and damaged property, is properly documented and preserved.

Negotiating Leverage 

Having well-preserved evidence provides you with stronger negotiating leverage when dealing with insurance companies or opposing parties. They are more likely to offer a fair settlement when faced with a well-documented and strong case.

Personal Injury Lawyer Consulting Injured Person

Choose Top-Rated Trial Attorneys with a Proven Record of Settlements and Verdicts in Western Massachusetts

Attorney John P. DiBartolo, Jr. has 28 years of experience practicing personal injury law in Massachusetts.  Our office has the skills, resources, and experience to achieve maximum compensation for your injuries and losses through settlement or court trial. Call us today at (413) 529-2955 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 

Category: Personal Injury