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Phases of Litigation

Many clients have not been involved in a litigation case before and are unaware of the

number of phases that a litigation case goes through. Accordingly, we want to give you

an overview of the litigation process. Typically, the formal litigation process is a time involved and intensive one. However, every case is different and may not follow the phases as listed below.


PHASE 1: Information/Investigation

After you have retained our firm to represent you, we will begin gathering pertinent

information regarding the subject matter of your case (hereinafter referred to as

"Claims"). We may request documents, photographs, videos, or other information that

you have in your possession regarding your Claims. We may contact potential

witnesses, physicians, etc., regarding your Claims. We may request your medical

records, employment records, and income records, if necessary.


PHASE 2: Demand Letter and/or Pre-Suit Negotiations

Normally, the first step in a litigation case is to prepare a demand letter to the opposing

party. The demand letter will set forth your Claims, your damages, and a possible

settlement amount before a lawsuit is filed. A demand letter is a good tool to use to

attempt to negotiate a settlement of your Claims before proceeding with a lawsuit,

and/ or it may be required by Indiana law or some other statute. Attempting to

negotiate a settlement prior to filing a lawsuit will save time and the expense of a formal

lawsuit.


PHASE 3: Filing a Lawsuit

To initiate a lawsuit, a document called a "Complaint" is filed with the Court having

jurisdiction over the matter. The Complaint will contain all of your Claims, supporting

law, and the relief you are seeking from the court. In addition to the Complaint, a

"Summons" is filed to be served upon the opposing party. A copy of the Complaint and

Summons must be served on the opposing party. This can be done by certified mail,

Sheriff, or by a private process server. Once the opposing party is served with a copy of the Complaint and Summons, the opposing party has between 20 to 23 days to file a "response" with the court. The response may be:


1) An Appearance of an attorney on behalf of the opposing party and a

request for additional time to file an "Answer" to the Complaint. The court

will grant this request and will give the opposing party an additional 30

days to file an Answer to the Complaint;

2) An Appearance of an attorney on behalf of the opposing party and an