What to Expect in a Lawsuit
Experienced Bend and Lincoln City Attorneys: (541) 902-3044
Lawsuits can be complicated endeavors that, depending on the nature of
the dispute at hand, can take months or even years to resolve. Regardless
of whether you have filed the complaint (i.e., you are the plaintiff)
or you have been named as the defendant in the case, most lawsuits follow
the same trajectory towards achieving a resolution.
The following provides an outline as to what you can expect in terms of
how a lawsuit will progress:
The initial consult with your lawyer: The first step in initiating or responding to any lawsuit is meeting
with your attorney to discuss the details of the case and start establishing
strategies for building up your side of the case.
The filing of or response to the complaint: If you will be the plaintiff in the lawsuit, then the next step will
be to have your lawyer file the necessary documents to officially file
the complaint with the court. Alternately, if you have been named as the
defendant in the case, then your lawyer will file official documents regarding
your response to the complaint. Once these filings have been completed,
the court will set various dates for the case, including dates for the
discovery process and impending trial.
The discovery process: This is the official investigation stage of the case during which both
parties in the complaint gather evidence and formally investigate the
opposing side’s position. While the discovery process may involve
deposing witnesses and formally requesting copies or lists of the opposing
side’s evidence, it is also the stage during which the approximate
value of the complaint will be determined.
Attempts at out-of-court settlements: Before a lawsuit goes to trial, there are often attempts to settle the
case out of court through either mediation or arbitration proceedings
(in some cases, a judge may formally order that such proceedings take
place before setting an official trial date). During these proceedings,
both sides will come together and attempt to come to a compromise to settle
the case. If both sides can agree upon a mutually beneficial resolution
to the lawsuit, then the agreed-upon settlement will be presented to the
court for final review and approval. If, however, no settlement can be
achieved through mediation or arbitration, then the case will likely proceed to trial.
Trial: Civil trials will start with the jury selection and opening statements
from both sides, followed by the presentation of evidence on behalf of
both the plaintiff and defendant. Once both sides have finished presenting
all of their evidence to the judge and jury, they will make their closing
statements, and then the jury will deliberate to reach a verdict in the case.
The judgment: Once the jury has ruled in favor of either side in the case, the official
judgment will be read to the court. At this time, both sides of the lawsuit
will also be informed if either side has been ordered to pay the other
side damages or compensation (if applicable). In some cases, the side
that did not win the judgment in the lawsuit may file an appeal to the
judgment (if this appeal is granted, then a new trial may be set for the case).
Questions? Don’t hesitate to
contact us at (541) 902-3044 for answers.