A slip and fall no matter how minor can affect your health and ability to earn an income. The physical and financial damages are often a result of a property owner’s negligence. You have the right to bring forth a slip and fall lawsuit if you suffered an injury as a result of a slip and fall in a private, commercial, or government property. That is why you need an Atlanta Slip and Fall Lawyer to help you plead your case. A slip and fall lawsuit process can take several months or years to resolve depending on the nature of the case.
The following is the typical timeline of a slip and fall lawsuit:
Filing a Complaint/Summons
The first stage of a slip and fall lawsuit is filing a complaint.
The document is prepared by your lawyer and explains the nature of your claim. It should contain information to notify the defendant (property owner/manager) of the plaintiff’s (you) claim. It will typically:
- state the parties involved
- a description of the fall
- who is responsible
- what compensation you seek for the injury
You must file a complaint at the court where you will bring your lawsuit alongside a summons to the defendant.
These summons order the defendant to respond to the complaint within a specified period of time.
Defendant’s Answer to the Complaint
The document the defendant submits in response to your complaint is the answer. An answer is typically a denial or admission of guilt by the defendant about allegations made in the complaint.
An answer will also usually provide ‘affirmative defenses’ which are legal doctrines that can reduce the defendant’s liability. A defendant can extend the period to submit an answer if they waive the right to certain legal defenses.
In the discovery stage of a slip and fall lawsuit process, the parties involved learn as much about the case as possible. Written discovery consists of interrogatories and requests for production. The former are queries you have to answer in writing and under oath while the latter are request to provide documents associated with the claim.
The discovery stage depends on the nature and complexity of the case. It can take a few months for a simple case and years for a complex one.
The parties involved can file various motions with the court to resolve certain issues before the case goes to trial. Pre-trial motions are typically filed during the discovery stage. Common pre-trial motions include the motion to dismiss, motion to compel, motion for summary judgment, and motion in Limine.
Mediation/Mandatory Settlement Conference
Most parties involved in slip and fall lawsuits will try to resolve the case before it goes to trial. Mediation and mandatory settlement conferences are the two main methods of doing so. The difference is that the parties set up mediation between themselves whereas a mandatory settlement conference is ordered by the court.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. Trials happen after the close of discovery. The defendant typically has 30 to 60 days to pay the agreed amount if they lose at trial.
A slip and fall lawsuit process has several stages. It can take anywhere between a few months to several years. An Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer will be crucial in helping you with your case. So call Ponton Law today if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Atlanta.