Charleston Workers’ Compensation Pretrial Process

In a pretrial phase of an individual’s case, a lawyer will develop a witness and an exhibit list. During the Charleston workers’ compensation pretrial process, the attorney will prepare motions. This includes things that they want the jury to see and things that they want to block the defense’s evidence from being seen by the jury.

The jury charges are put together so they are ready for trial. They write an opening and closing argument and prepare examinations for witnesses. During that process, the case may be ordered for mediation. Meditation is a day where both parties get a neutral mediator to try to facilitate a settlement. When the case is mediated, the parties meet and then split into different rooms and then begin the process of negotiation back and forth in an effort to reach a successful resolution of the case on all issues. If a settlement is not reached, the case will proceed to trial. Reach out to an experienced lawyer today to learn more about the pretrial process.

Pretrial Motions

Motion for summary judgment is made in almost every case. Typically, the defense will make that. Even on the issue of liability, they will claim that the defendant did not either owe a duty to the plaintiff or, if they did owe a duty, they did not breach the duty. If the defendant owed a duty and breached the duty, their breach did not cause the injuries. If they owed a duty and they breached that duty that causes the injuries, that the damages are not what the plaintiff says they are.

In one case, the brain injury or the problems with depression all pre-existed and did not come from this accident. It was an argument in this case. That motion would be to try to dismiss all or a portion of the case to keep that portion of it or the entire case, even, away from the jury to stop the case. The defense may have experts that say, for example, that the brain injury is not from the accident.

There are the battles of the experts, certainly, but there is certainly a genuine issue of material fact that the jury has to figure out. They may side with the defendant or they may side with the plaintiff, but it is up to the jury to decide. A motion for summary judgment is an attempt to have the judge take away that decision from the jury if there is no issue on material fact, and go ahead and make a ruling to dismiss a portion or all of the case.

Communication Between the Defendant and Plaintiff Prior to Trial

There was plenty of communication between the defendant’s counsel and the plaintiff’s counsel, but not between the actual plaintiff and the defendant themselves. They are both represented parties and so any communication with regard to the other would go through their counsel. The lawyers would communicate on deposition dates, trade discovery and provide each other with disclosures with witness lists, exhibit lists and so forth.

In the mediation itself, the parties did meet briefly in a conference room, and each side was able to give an opening argument and a presentation as to how they saw the case. Then, both parties split up into different rooms with their counsel and the mediator to try to work out a settlement.

 

 

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