Pretrial Stages Of A Florida Personal Injury Case
People often underestimate the complexity of a personal injury lawsuit, as even the most straightforward of civil lawsuits requires that plaintiffs comply with strict procedural and substantive rules. Some of the most important procedural requirements actually occur before trial, during one of the pretrial stages. Failing to meet these standards at any time during pretrial could result in a waiver of recovery, or even the outright dismissal of a case, which can be devastating for accident victims.
One of the first steps in a personal injury lawsuit is the pleadings stage. Pleadings are basically filings that assert what the plaintiff is alleging and what the defendant’s initial response to those allegations is. The pleadings stage includes the complaint and answer, where the plaintiff and defendant exchange allegations, responsive motions, counterclaims, cross claims, third party claims, and modifications and amendments. At this stage, the parties aren’t allowed to submit, and the court won’t consider any evidence presented outside of the pleadings.
Pretrial Conference Scheduling
Once the pleadings stage has been concluded, courts typically move to pretrial conference scheduling, where they schedule case management conferences, during which the parties can discuss litigation issues, such as expert testimony and amendments. Discovery, which involves the exchange of evidence between the parties, protective orders, and sanctions if a party fails to comply with a court order, also usually occurs at the pretrial conference stage.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Proceedings
Before trial, the parties to a case will also have the opportunity to engage in non-judicial methods of resolution, such as alternative dispute resolution. This stage usually involves attempts at mediations, arbitrations, and settlement negotiations, sometimes at the parties’ own instigation and sometimes via court order.
Failing to Engage in the Pretrial Phase
Each pretrial stage has its own set of rules, limits, and repercussions and those who fail to recognize the importance of these rules could end up facing dismissal of their case before it even begins. For instance, during pretrial stages, courts can dismiss specific claims, or throw out a case entirely. Dismissals can be voluntary, involuntary, or the result of a summary judgment ruling. For example, courts can issue a summary judgment motion in favor of one party because the other party didn’t fully and appropriately plead their complaints. Failing to engage in the discovery process, or attempts to hide evidence can also result in sanctions and the dismissal of a case, making it especially important for accident victims to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can walk them through every aspect of the pretrial stages.
Did You Suffer an Injury in a Florida Accident?
At Boone & Davis, our dedicated Florida personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with civil lawsuits. We handle cases stemming from car accidents and medical malpractice to slip and fall accidents and dog bites and understand the critical role that each stage of litigation entails when pursuing these claims in civil court. Contact our firm at 954-566-9919 to set up a meeting with a member of our experienced legal team and learn more about the stages of litigation.