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How Does a Lawsuit Work?

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Perhaps you have just experienced a life-altering injury or have just recently lost a loved one in an accident that was someone else’s fault. The idea of filing a lawsuit is overwhelming and frightening, but you know that you need help making ends meet now. To protect your interest, you need to speak to an attorney, but you just don’t know what the process looks like once you hire him.

The First Steps

GavelLawsuits are initiated by the filing of a complaint. This opening document explains to the court and to the other party what harm was done and what the plaintiff is asking the court to do. Once the complaint is filed with the court, it gets served on the opposing party. Counsel for the opposing party will then file an answer.

What Happens Next?

Both parties are then allowed to send discovery to the other side. Discovery allows parties to ask for necessary information from the other party. Examples of requested information are bank records, medical records, employment records, and other information pertinent to the case. Information is also obtained from third parties when attorneys issue subpoenas. Subpoenas are used to gain information that may not be in the opposing party’s possession. For example, full employee files with notes about an employee’s performance.

Before the full hearing, either party may file motions asking for the court’s intervention or clarification on issues between the parties. These might include questions about witnesses, what exhibits or information will be allowed to be presented to the judge or the jury, or questions about timing or scheduling.

What if I Lose?

After the finding of the jury or the ruling of the judge, the losing party has the right to appeal the decision. Notices of appeal are filed and the file gets forwarded to the higher court. The prevailing party will request that the judge order the losing party to pay some or all of the costs and fees that the winning party has incurred.

Do I Have to Go to Court

There are options other than going to court, even after the initial filing of the lawsuit. The parties are always encouraged to settle. If they are unable to do so with the help of their attorneys, the parties may opt for mediation, where they sit down with a mediator (often a retired judge or another lawyer who has received the appropriate training) to see if an agreement can be reached.

Another option if the parties wish to avoid court is called arbitration. This is much like a trial, the parties each present their case to an arbitrator who makes a decision for one side or the other. The difference is that arbitration is less formal and often does not take as much time as a trial, therefore saving both of the parties attorney fees.

Lawsuits can be time consuming, expensive, and difficult. However, for the best chance at a favorable ruling, there must be full disclosure and cooperation by the client with his or her attorneys. At Young & Young, we have more than 40 years experience in civil litigation. We will help you through each step of your lawsuit and we strive to find just resolutions for quality cases. Contact us for a free consultation.

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 
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Choosing the Right Lawyer

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While choosing the right lawyer can be a difficult process, here are a couple things to consider when choosing the best lawyer for a personal case.

AaronChoosing the Right Lawyer
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Bear Attack Case

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In 2011 Plaintiffs received a judgment against the United States in the amount of $1,950,000. Following the ruling, the United States filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The United States filed a motion to dismiss its appeal this week. This means Plaintiffs will be paid the judgment of $1,950,000.00. Although Plaintiffs are happy with the result of the trial and subsequent dismissal of the appeal, they hope that the effect of their lawsuit won’t end with payment. Plaintiffs hope their injury lawsuit will make visitors to our national forests safer.
Plaintiffs’ son was killed by a black bear in the Uintah National Forest. The Forest Service had knowledge of an attack, by the same bear, in almost the exact location of the attack on Plaintiffs’ son, which occurred approximately 18 hours prior to Plaintiffs’ son’s death. In fact, the Division of Wildlife Resources was also aware of the attack and classified the bear as a “threat to humans.” Nevertheless, the Forest Service took no action to attempt to warn Plaintiffs of the attack or dangerous bear. Plaintiffs hope this lawsuit will bring to light the fact that visitors to our forests are entitled to know about “dangerous” bears that have shown no fear of humans (most black bears are afraid of humans). Even if the Forest Service won’t immediately create a policy to provide such warnings, Plaintiffs hope this lawsuit will help the public provide their input to rule makers about the need for these warnings.

SitekeeperBear Attack Case
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Train Cases

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Three young women were recently killed by a train in Utah County. The circumstances surrounding the crash on October 16, 2011 sound concerning. Railroad companies have an obligation and duty to maintain their crossings in a reasonably safe condition. It’s situations like this that the right questions need to be asked of the railroad. Often if families of the victims of such tragic crashes ask the right questions, and take the right action, they can help prevent other tragic incidents like the one that took the lives of these young women. Allen and Tyler Young take pride in determining whether railroad companies could have prevented crashes like the one that took the lives of these young women. Allen has litigated numerous claims against railroad companies and been successful in making railroad crossings throughout the state safer.

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Case Settlement

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This is our first blog about recent settlements, verdicts, changes in the law and other injury law related topics. We thought it would be appropriate to begin our first blog with news about a recent insurance settlement in a car accident case. Last month one of our clients received an insurance settlement in excess of $150,000 for injuries sustained in a car accident. Our client was very happy with the outcome of the case. Although some car accidents require larger settlements to make our clients whole, this is one settlement that exemplifies the work we do on a day to day basis.

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