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We know that your decision to hire an attorney to protect your legal rights is not an easy one. You may not be familiar with the legal process, and it can be confusing and even intimidating. Our goal is to clearly explain the legal process and ensure that you are comfortable calling us at any time with any questions or concerns.
Take care of yourself with the support of family and friends and keep us informed of all significant developments. Rest assured that we will be there for you every step of the way. We will inform you about important developments and prepare you for upcoming events. A settlement that you consider fair is our goal, but when settlement is not possible, we will recommend filing a lawsuit.
We appreciate your patience. The legal process can move slowly since each side is allowed certain time periods within which to respond to the other. Sometimes events out of our control delay matters. We will do everything in our power to bring your case to a final conclusion as soon as practical, but we will never sacrifice preparedness for expediency.
Our attorneys are prepared, and we will make sure that you are prepared. We are familiar with defense lawyer tactics and will make sure that you are ready for them. We will keep you updated on all major developments in your case, but we also encourage you to ask questions and provide any information you believe is helpful to the case. We want you to feel comfortable calling your attorney, paralegal or legal assistant, anytime throughout the process.
The lawsuit starts by the filing of a “complaint” with the appropriate court. The complaint is a document that we prepare based on the law and on the facts as you understand them or as we have determined them based on our investigation. The complaint notifies the defendant that a legal claim is being made, and the defendant usually files an “answer” to the complaint within 30-60 days.
After the complaint and answer are filed, the court allows both sides’ attorneys to exchange written information, or “discovery,” about their claims or defenses. Your cooperation in providing facts and information is critical to proving your case. That process is usually complete within 90-120 days after the complaint and answer are filed.
After written information is exchanged, the attorneys will usually want to take “depositions” that give each side the opportunity to question the opposing parties or their witnesses. Depositions, which are recorded question and answer sessions, may include you, witnesses to the events or injuries, expert witnesses and others. We will make sure that you are thoroughly prepared for any deposition, and we will be by your side throughout the process.
Approximately one year after filing the lawsuit, the court usually orders formal settlement negotiations called a “mediation.” If successful, your case will settle and won’t go to a trial. Cases can settle at any time including before, during or after mediation. If no settlement is reached during or after mediation, your case may proceed to trial, where a judge and jury will hear evidence and arguments from both sides, and then a jury will usually decide the case.
Your Martin & Jones attorney will be your advocate, answer your questions, provide legal advice, prepare you during the legal process and oversee all aspects of your case. In certain cases, there may be two or more attorneys on a case.
A paralegal and legal assistant will also work closely with you and your attorney. Your paralegal manages the day-to-day details of your case and can answer most questions if your attorney is in depositions or court. Your legal assistant might arrange for conferences, meetings, depositions and the like.
Other support staff at Martin & Jones may also help on your case by obtaining records, copying documents and arranging schedules for important events in your case. It truly is a team effort for our clients at Martin & Jones.