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What Is Litigation?


You’ve heard this term in a million different contexts and you’re certain you know what it means, sort of. It refers to the process of trying a lawsuit, correct? Sort of. It refers to a specific type of process that involves disputes specifically, adversarial actions, and contested accounts of what happened. While some personal injury lawsuits will end up in litigation, some of them can be resolved prior to litigation. Once your complaint has been filed with a court, it is in litigation. When you hear attorneys advertise themselves as “litigators” or “trial attorneys”, you’re talking about folks who file lawsuits against other folks and then take the matter before a court for resolution.

The most important thing you need to understand about litigation is that the process is defined by whichever court system case is filed under. Federal rules of litigation are different from state rules and so on.

What does it mean if my lawsuit is settled pre-litigation? 

Most personal injury lawsuits are related to traffic accidents. These cases are frequently resolved without the need for a lawsuit to be filed. In more serious traffic accident cases, when the stakes are higher, you will be more interested in an attorney who specializes in litigation than an attorney who specializes in negotiating quick (but fair) settlements in pre-litigation.

Other cases do not lend themselves to pre-litigation settlements quite so easily. Medical malpractice, products liability, and some premises liability lawsuits tend to require more aggressive tactics and the threat of a jury trial is effective leverage in many cases.

What do personal injury attorneys do in pre-litigation? 

Your personal injury attorney will be following your medical treatment, researching the parties involved, and hiring expert witnesses. We will then present a case to the defendant or their insurer and they will have the opportunity to respond. If they respond with a settlement offer, we can discuss the matter with you, our client. If they respond with a settlement offer we don’t like or they deny the allegations, then we begin the process of litigation and file suit directly with the courts.

Litigation is costly for both parties, so there will be some cases where an insurance company will move to settle quickly to avoid the protracted costs of litigation or the potential for an unsympathetic jury. Most of your basic premises liability and auto accident injury lawsuits are settled like this. However, unless the defendant has the incentive to settle quickly, they will likely fight the allegations and roll the dice.

Often, the choice of whether to litigate or not litigate will essentially be made by the defendant in their response to an initial complaint.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Palmer | Lopez has the trial experience you need to prepare strong cases and then litigate them if we don’t like the response we get. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to learn more about how we can help.

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