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Timeline for a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injuries. If you are injured in one of these accidents and believe that a property owner’s negligence is to blame, you could pursue compensation by filing a lawsuit.
While many cases settle before reaching the courtroom, some slip-and-fall lawsuits can take up to a year or longer to resolve. It is important to know the timeline for a slip and fall lawsuit in Washington before initiating your claim.
Step 1: Maximum Medical Improvement and Initial Investigation
Before filing your slip and fall lawsuit, your attorney will want to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means that your injuries have healed to the fullest possible extent. Once you reach MMI, you will have a much clearer picture of your damage.
While waiting for you to reach MMI, your slip and fall attorney will begin investigating. He or she will gather evidence and identify the liable party.
Step 2: The Initial Demand Letter
Your attorney may send an initial demand letter to the at-fault party before filing your lawsuit. This letter will detail your intent to file a lawsuit and the damages that you are seeking. The liable party can choose to negotiate with you and reach a settlement before going to court.
If you do send a demand letter and engage in negotiations, your case may settle at this stage. If you do not send a letter or the negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer will file your lawsuit in Washington civil court.
Step 3: The Discovery Phase
After your lawsuit is filed, your case will enter the discovery phase. Discovery can last from six months to one year, depending on the complexity of your case.
During the discovery process, your attorney and the at-fault party’s lawyer will depose witnesses and exchange arguments and evidence prior to trial. You may need to attend a deposition during this phase.
Step 4: Pre-Trial Negotiations
Before your slip and fall case goes to trial, you and your lawyer may participate in negotiations with the at-fault party. If you are able to reach an agreement, you can recover a settlement before entering the courtroom. Your lawyer could file a motion for summary judgment to have your case dismissed.
Step 5: The Trial
If you do not reach an agreement or decide not to negotiate with the at-fault party, your slip and fall lawsuit will go to trial. The court will hear arguments from your attorney and the property owner’s lawyer and will decide whether you are eligible for compensation. The court will also decide how much compensation you should receive.
A slip and fall trial can take a couple of days to a few weeks to reach a conclusion. If your case is successful, you will likely receive your settlement check within six weeks of the trial.
Contact a Washington Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, filing a lawsuit can help you recover the compensation that you deserve. In these situations, you need an attorney on your side who can represent your claim and fight for your right to recovery. Contact a Washington slip and fall accident lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.