Litigation Explained: What It Really Means in Personal Injur

Litigation Explained: What It Really Means in Personal Injury Cases

If you were recently injured by another person’s negligent actions, you may be filing a personal injury case.

You’ve likely heard the term ‘litigation’ mentioned as you’ve started the process, but you may not understand what it means.

What does litigation mean in a personal injury case? Put simply, it is the process of suing someone for damages for your injuries. This process begins when you file a complaint or claim against the at-fault party. It involves many steps, which your personal injury attorney will walk you through until your case is resolved. 

The Steps of Litigation in Your Personal Injury Case

When you have been hurt because someone else was negligent, these are the following steps you can expect in the litigation process. 


Prior to officially filing your lawsuit, you may want to try to resolve your dispute through negotiations. This is often where those who have suffered injuries realize they are not being offered enough to cover the expenses incurred from this event. 

Filing a Complaint

If no agreement can be reached, your attorney will file a complaint with the court. This complaint will outline the allegations you’re making against the at-fault party and the amount of damages you are seeking as a result.

After this complaint is filed, it will be served to the defendant. They will then have a set amount of time to respond to your complaint. They may admit or deny these allegations and raise their own defences. 


In the discovery phase, both the plaintiff and the defendant in a personal injury case have the chance to request more information and evidence from one another. They can take depositions from witnesses as well. This phase allows both sides to gather the evidence they need to prepare for trial. Motions may be filed to request a certain action such as dismissing the case or excluding certain evidence. 

Pre-Trial Proceedings

A pre-trial conference may arise with the judge, allowing both parties to try to reach an agreement. During these negotiations, it may be possible to resolve the issues and put the case to rest. If not, litigation proceeds with a trial. 


If negotiations and alternative dispute resolutions up to this point have not been fruitful, the litigation process will move forward to the courtroom. At the trial, both parties will present their arguments and evidence to a judge or jury. The case outcome will then be decided, which could be in favour of the plaintiff or the defendant. 


If you are unhappy with the final ruling in your trial, you have the right to appeal this decision to a higher court. Similarly, the defendant may feel the ruling was unfair to them and may also enact the appeals process. 

What Else to Know About Litigation

Litigation is the most complex and time-consuming way to resolve a personal injury case. Not all personal injury cases go to trial, and in fact, the majority of them are settled during negotiations.

When considering a settlement offer, it is imperative that you review it with an attorney. You may not have taken into account the future impact of your injuries. While a quick check may resolve your financial woes, it may not be enough money to provide for your future medical treatments resulting from these injuries.

Additionally, you shouldn’t wait too long to make your decision about pursuing litigation. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is three years starting from the date of your accident. If you wait too long, you will miss this deadline and be unable to pursue your lawsuit.

There are a few exceptions to these rules, but only a personal injury attorney will be able to assess your case and see if it fits with these permitted exceptions. This is why it is highly advised for injured victims to speak with a lawyer immediately after receiving medical treatment as it will give you enough time to start planning the litigation process.



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