Hi, I’m Roger Ghai and I wanted to talk to you about what happens in the litigation process, and even why litigation has to sometimes be filed, even though you might have what you consider to be a simple fender bender, somebody’s rear ended you and you just want fair compensation for your medical bills, your lost wages, your pain and suffering, something reasonable. You don’t want to have to go all the way through a full blown litigation just to get to that point.
But, the ugly truth of the matter really is, is that the insurance industry, they have to protect their own pocketbooks and they do protect their own pocketbooks. Some of these companies have hundreds of thousands of employees with billions of dollars of overhead, so their only interest is paying you the smallest amount that they can on the claim. A lot of times what they’ll do is, immediately after an accident, they’ll get somebody out to your house or the hospital for you to sign their release, sign your rights away, not knowing what your injuries are. However, if you speak to a lawyer, you can make an informed decision as to whether you do need to file a lawsuit or not.
Now, lawsuits are not the first thing that we lawyers jump into. We oftentimes try to resolve the case, and there’s a bunch of ways that we try to resolve it, with a demand package and so forth. But, when litigation has to be filed, there are a number of steps that have to be taken. When we do decide to file a lawsuit, as I said, a number of steps have to be taken.
First of all, if we have to follow a lawsuit, we have to determine where the defendant is. Because, the defendant actually has to be served with a lawsuit. If the defendant cannot be located, this is a big detriment to your case, it’s a huge obstacle. Many times, my office will have to hire an investigator, get a current location on the defendant. If the defendant has passed away, that can obviously create other problems because we have to file a special petition in the probate court to get an estate representative appointed.
Once that the defendant is served, that sort of gets the litigation process rolling. What’ll happen is we have what we call a period of discovery in Georgia. We file the lawsuit, the defendant files an answer. Now, when they have their lawyers and it’s always going to be the insurance company’s lawyers who file that answer on their behalf, once they filed that lawsuit, that’s when the six months of discovery in Georgia begins. What that means is this. That, the defense will send us written questions. If you filed a lawsuit, those questions have to be filled out by you with our assistance. At the same time, we send out written questions to the other side. We ask for documents, we ask for cellular phone records. We ask for a multitude of things to prove your case in the litigation.
After that six months is expired, sometimes it’s extended by the agreement of the lawyers, but after that six months is expired, then we can ask the court for a trial on the case. Now, I will say this, I think I sort of missed it. It’s during that six months when the documents are being exchanged between the parties that, after the lawyers for the defense and the plaintiff get all of the documents and they review them, they’ll probably want to take your deposition, which just is your testimony in front of the court reporter in my office or your lawyer’s office, and then of course the defense lawyers office. These cases take time to move.
Once we do go through the court system, we don’t willy-nilly file a case, just to think we’re going to shake more money out of the tree from the insurance company, but sometimes it’s necessary. Sometimes there are insurance companies where we will have to file a lawsuit just to get them to come up to fair value. I won’t name them on this video as to who that is, but there, you can think of the biggest carriers, some of them are really good to deal with and we don’t ever have to too often file a lawsuit, but they’re a good number of these insurance companies out there nowadays won’t even agree to pay your medical bills. Okay, and the reason is that they know that you don’t want to go through that whole process. That’s the reason that you need a fighter on your hands sometimes, and to be able to get the proper compensation and get it done as quickly as possible. If you do have any questions about your case, feel free to call my office at (770) 792-1000.