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Personal Injury Cases - The Legal Process in New Jersey


Filing a lawsuit

Once you have decided to file a lawsuit, a summons and complaint are prepared and filed in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey.  A summons and complaint state you were involved in an accident caused by another person’s negligence or other grounds alleging fault by another person or entity. 

Waiting for an Answer

After the summons and compliant are filed, Defendant has 35 days to file an answer.  At times extensions are granted.

Once an Answer is Filed

After the complaint is answered, the discovery process begins. During this process information is shared between attorneys regarding parties and dispute.  The process takes time due to parties requesting information they are not entitled to, or taking their time in answering a request.  When this occurs we are required to go before the Judge to fight on your behalf. 

During the discovery process, you may have to attend a medical evaluation.  This is where attorneys request you see a doctor for an evaluation of your condition.  Defendant is often entitled to request such an evaluation and you must attend.  

Depositions

Depositions are part of the discovery process where under oath with a transcript made of the testimony for later use in court.  During a deposition each attorney asks questions of you relating to the accident and injuries sustained.  Other parties and witnesses will be subject to this process as well.

Going to Trial

Once the discovery process is complete, the Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey assigned to your case will set a trial date.  This means that all depositions and the discovery process is complete including any medical evaluations. 

During Trial

Most cases are jury trials where each side presents evidence in order for the jury to determine the outcome of the case.  Testimony at trial can come in the form of experts, doctors, plaintiffs, defendants and other fact witnesses.  Trials may last from a day to a few weeks depending on the complexity of the case and issues involved.

Outcome of the Case

A jury’s decision is final, yet an appeal may occur in few instances.

Don’t Want to Go to Trial?

Cases are often resolved before going to trial.  Some methods attorney’s use to resolve cases are arbitration and mediation.  Arbitration is where an impartial panel hears the case and makes a decision that can be final and binding.  At times, the parties can agree in advance to a high and low value of the case prior to arbitration.   Mediation is where all parties consent to work towards a resolution with the assistance of a mediator who is usually chosen by the parties by mutual agreement.  The mediator serves as a facilitator to negotiate the dispute that can be made binding. 

 

  Certified as a criminal trial attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.