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The Claims and Litigation Process

How Do You File a Claim and Get Compensation?

A lawsuit begins by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court and by serving the defendant(s) with a copy of the same. The defendant(s) then have a limited time to serve an Answer. In the event the defense attorney fails to serve an Answer, the individual bringing the lawsuit can then have to apply to the court for a Default Judgment. Typically, the defendant(s) will then serve his or her Answer, which always denies all allegations of wrongdoing.


Thereafter, the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) and the defendant (the person, party, or entity being sued) engage in Discovery. This is the phase of the litigation where the defendant demands copies of every record or document related to your claim, including police reports, witness statements and accident reports, as well as hospital, medical, health provider, school, employment, and income tax records.


Next, the defendant will typically demand and conduct an examination of the plaintiff under oath. This is called a Deposition, and you will be asked questions related to the accident and your injuries. Although it’s natural to be anxious, remember you were not at fault – you were not the wrongdoer. All that you will do is tell the truth. It is your lawyer’s job to spend the time and prepare you for the deposition so that you have a certain comfort level. The questions will primarily be about the incident, your injuries, and the losses you sustained. We will also conduct discovery of the defendant, which includes obtaining records and taking the defendant’s deposition.

Medical Examination

The defendant may also demand that you undergo medical examination(s) by doctors the defendant’s insurance company chooses. These doctors are not there to help you; their sole purpose is to minimize you injuries or deny that they are serious or related to this accident. Please do not be surprised by this. It is to be expected, and an experienced attorney is familiar with these tactics and will know how to efficiently deal with this.


After all discovery is completed, we file the appropriate papers and place the case on the court’s trial calendar. We then have to wait our turn for trial. The waiting time for trial varies from county to county. In the interim, while waiting for trial the judge will conduct one or more pre-trial conferences to try to settle the case. If the case does not settle at this point, we proceed to trial where a jury will determine fault and money damages.

The vast majority of all cases settle before going to trial, but it is important to have a law firm with the skill, experience, and financial resources to go to court in the event the insurance company is unreasonable. The insurance companies and defense lawyers know which law firms have a proven track record of success. Remember the reputation of your attorney makes a huge difference in the amount of money you may ultimately receive.

Contact Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. Today

At Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C., our attorneys have over 150 years of combined experience, possessing all of the expertise and know-how to help you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to. To get started, call us at 1-516-342-2200 or contact us online. We will fight for you!

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