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What Does Litigation Mean in A Personal Injury Case?

The term litigation is often confused, even in legal circles. If you are involved in a personal injury case, you particularly need to understand litigation and Idaho personal injury lawyers.

In a personal injury case, litigation means the process of suing a negligent party who caused you injury via a civil court process.

Not all personal injury cases involve litigation, as most are settled out of court before the litigation process begins. However, for those that reach litigation, there are five elements of litigation:

  1. Discovery 

At the beginning of personal injury litigation, the parties in the case, don’t have all the information. Therefore, there is a process of discovery where each party collects as much evidence as they need.

The lawyers on both sides will serve discovery requests which may involve questioning the other party to obtain more information about the case. Parties can also subpoena witnesses to appear at hearings and depositions.

Discovery can be delayed to work on settlement negotiations, but it is the first sign your personal injury case is in litigation.

  1. Motions

The second step in the litigation is when either party files a motion with the court. The motion may be for temporary or permanent relief until the case’s resolution.

In most cases, neither party will file a motion to promote out-of-court negotiations. Filing motions with the court signals a litigation case.

  1. Expert Witnesses

Depending on how the personal injury case is proceeding, there may be a need to engage expert witnesses by either side of the case. At this point, the case has already taken shape, and discovery is complete.

Your attorney will call expert witnesses to testify at the hearings in support of or opposition to your case. Depending on which side of the case you are on. Expert witnesses can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.

Expert witnesses may include

  • doctors,
  • safety engineers,
  • CPAs, or
  • private investigators, among other professionals.

They are often there to confirm or deny conclusions reached during discovery.

Hearings or Trial Preparation

As the personal injury case proceeds towards litigation, you and your attorney will be preparing the case. Preparation for trial or hearings will take many forms depending on your attorney.

Preparation may involve

  • meeting with witnesses and preparing them for court,
  • testimony rehearsals,
  • filing, and responding to motions.

Preparation for a case will be a lot of work, but it is a vital litigation component.


Every litigation case will eventually end up in court. The trial will often be decided by a judge, jury, or fact finder.

Your attorney and the attorney on the other side will prevent their evidence during the trial. Both parties will try and present their cases in the best light to the judge or jury.

 Witnesses and expert witnesses will testify during the trial. The trial ends the litigation process by making a final order or judgment.

The above process of litigation is standard for personal injury cases. If you are involved in any of the outlined elements, your claim is in litigation. The judge or jury will decide the outcome during the trial.

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