In Georgia, the traditional personal injury case has the following milestones:
- Filing the complaint in the county the defendant resides.
- The summons will be delivered by the local sheriff’s office.
- The defendant typically has 45 days to file an answer.
- After the answer is filed, there is a 6-month discovery period. This includes questions asked by each side, in writing. Also, may include “Requests for Admissions”, or “Requests for production of documents”. A deposition is an oral form of discovery, and clients often see this less stressful than appearing in court. Discovery is designed to make sure no surprises or “smoking guns” appear in the event the case goes to trial.
- Sometime mediation is utilized.
Mediation allows both parties in a lawsuit to get in the same room. An experienced mediator (Attorney, ex-Judge) is present to move the process along. Everyone has a chance to speak and tells their side of the story. The mediator will speak and each party will then go into separate rooms and the mediator will go into each room and back and forth to attempt a settlement. The goal of the mediator is to get the lawsuit settled. Mediation is not binding, in contract to Arbitration that is binding. With mediation, you can walk away without an agreement.
- A settlement oftentimes occurs before going to trial.
- If no settlement is possible, then a trial date is set.
You can listen to Richard discuss this topic at the Newstalk 1160 Legally Speaking with Richard Howe.