Civil Litigation Process for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Virginia

When there is a legal conflict between parties, it is often settled through civil litigation. Civil litigation can be conflicts about financial issues, business issues, and accident liability. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team focuses entirely on personal injury law and helping victims and their families get the financial compensation that they are entitled to under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligent actions of another party, contact our firm to find out how we can help. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of the litigation process.


How It Works

The legal process can often be complex to people who are not familiar with all the elements that can be involved. There are legal terms, filing requirements, and other rules that often require the expertise of a personal injury lawyer.

In any personal injury action, there is a plaintiff (the victim) and a defendant (the party or parties who allegedly caused the incident that injured the victim). The lawsuit will go through the following steps:

Complaint and Response: To initiate the action, the plaintiff will file a complaint with the court. This complaint must provide details about the incident that caused their injuries, the actions of the defendant that caused the incident, and the losses the plaintiff has suffered because of the injuries. Once the defendant is notified of the plaintiff’s complaint, they must file a response as to whether or not they object to the plaintiff’s allegations.

Discovery: The next step of a personal injury lawsuit is the discovery process. Both sides will gather and exchange evidence and other information about the case. For example, if the plaintiff is claiming medical expenses for their injuries, they will provide the defendant with medical documentation and medical bills for treatment of those injuries. Some of the legal tools that a North Carolina personal injury attorney will use for the discovery phase includes interrogatories, depositions, and subpoenas.

Settlement or Trial: It may surprise many people not familiar with the civil litigation process that the majority of personal injury cases do not proceed all the way to trial, but instead the parties negotiate a settlement agreement. Trials can be expensive and take a long time before the case reaches a final legal conclusion. However, it is important to note that if the defendant (either through their attorney or insurance company’s attorney) fails to negotiate in good faith or the two parties just cannot reach a fair and just agreement of the plaintiff, proceeding to trial is the next step. At the trial, both sides will present their evidence to either the jury, who will then decide if the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and the financial compensation the plaintiff deserves for the losses the injuries causes.

Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today

A skilled Virginia beach personal injury attorney is very familiar with the areas of North Carolina statutes and case law which address personal injury. He or she will also be your best representative when it comes to negotiating a possible settlement with the insurance company.

That is why it is crucial for victims to hire attorneys who only specialize in personal injury cases. In much the same way people go to doctors who specialize in a certain field of medicine, the same holds true for attorneys. A person suffering from heart problems would go to a cardiologist, not a dermatologist. Accident victims should seek out a personal injury attorney who focuses exclusively on injury law, and not family law or estate planning attorney.