Why Should I Hire An Attorney?
An experienced lawyer knows your rights and can help you deal with difficult insurance companies and large corporations. Insurance companies rarely offer to pay the full and fair value of a claim when the injured party is not represented by an attorney. Indeed, experience has shown that insurance companies pay much less in cases where the injured party is unrepresented, or under-represented.
An experienced trial attorney can level the playing field with the insurance companies, and help to make sure that you get the full and fair value of your claim.
What to Expect from Holton Law:
- An honest evaluation of your unique situation, free of charge.
- We realize that every person is unique, and so are their injuries and personal situations. We take that in to account each time we meet or speak with a client.
- A thorough investigation into the fine details of your case.
- We realize that every case is different, and each requires attention to detail and thorough preparation. We set a strong foundation by investigating all of the details that will have some bearing on your case.
- Litigation techniques that are the product of 75+ years of combined experience.
- We have attorneys who have extensive trial experience and have worked together as a team, for more than a decade.
- Representation and service that you can confidently recommend to your own friends and family.
- Holton Law always has the best interests of their clients at the heart of our efforts. We believe this to be the best way to conduct any business. Our former clients and peers in the Mid South trust that we will represent their friends and families with the same principles we have relied on since our founding. That is why nearly half of the cases Holton Law is currently working were referred by former clients, other lawyers, judges, and even doctors and nurses.
An Overview of the Civil Litigation Process:
Statute of limitations:
The statute of limitations (SOL) in a civil case is the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit once they have learned that they are injured. The SOL differs from state to state and also for the type of injury. If you wait until after the SOL has expired to file a lawsuit, any legitimate claim could be barred. Due to the detailed and sometimes confusing nature of SOL, we recommend that you contact an attorney immediately after you learn you have been injured to prevent any potential claim from being barred.
The litigation process begins when the plaintiff or injured party files a complaint with the appropriate court and sends a copy of the complaint, by service of a summons, to the defendant. The complaint explains what the defendant did to harm the plaintiff, and provides the basis on which the defendant should be found legally responsible.
After the complaint is filed and served, the defendant has a specific amount of time to file an answer with the court. The answer provides the defendants side of the dispute. In some instances, the complaint and answer will be amended to represent different legal theories or correct deficiencies in factual allegations. When the parties involved settle on a complaint, answer, and reply, the case is “at issue,” which means the issues to be resolved are clearly defined.
Alternatives to Litigation
It has become common knowledge that currently most cases settle out of court before reaching the trial stage. While some attorneys routinely rely on this method to quickly resolve disputes, thorough preparation of each case for trial ensures that a just settlement will be achieved. If the parties cannot achieve a settlement, then the plaintiff can choose to go to trial and know that they are well prepared to do so. Settlement negotiations can be suggested by either side at any time.
Two common ways to achieve a settlement include Arbitration and Mediation.
Arbitration could be described as a less formal and abbreviated trial process that uses an arbitrator instead of a judge. The arbitrator is a neutral third party who directs the proceedings and rules on the case. One strong point to consider in a “binding” arbitration is that the ruling of the arbitrator cannot be appealed to the court.
Mediation is another method to achieving a settlement. A mediator is also a neutral third party; however the mediator is not a replacement for a judge. A mediator is trained to help each side realize the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and find an agreeable settlement that takes those strengths and weaknesses into account.
Discovery and preparation:
If the case is not resolved outside of court, then a trial is necessary. The duration of a lawsuit can vary widely depending on the issues in question, the amount of discovery necessary, and scheduling issues with the court and other parties involved.
Discovery is the process in which each side asks for information about the issues and facts of the case. This can be done through interrogatories (formal written questions), depositions (giving sworn testimony under oath), and requests for production of documents relevant to the case. Discovery is typically the longest portion of a civil case, but will vary in length depending on the issues of the case. This preparation period can be the most important in the outcome of the case.
The trial stage involves both the plaintiff and the defendant presenting their side of the case to a judge, or a jury. The process begins with each side giving an opening statement that sums up what they will prove over the course of the trial. After this, the plaintiff presents their proof and witnesses. The defense then presents their proof, which can be rebutted by the plaintiff. Both sides have an opportunity to present final motions. The defense gives the first closing argument, summing up the facts that show their side of the case. The plaintiff gets the final closing argument, and then the judge or jury gets a chance to decide the verdict.
After the trial process, there is a chance to appeal the verdict. Depending on who prevailed at trial, either side may choose to appeal the decision. This stage can lengthen the litigation process.
* The information on this site is not legal advice, nor does it imply an attorney and client relationship of any kind. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance. Legal advice can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all of the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant laws.