Helping you Negotiate the Discovery and Pretrial Processes in Alabama Insurance Defense Cases
Shealy, Crum & Pike help you every step of the way
Facing litigation can be overwhelming. The attorneys at Shealy, Crum & Pike guide you through the process, and are with you each step of the way. The firm believes that the discovery and pretrial process are the building blocks for a successful case. Every matter is prepared with the expectation that it will go to trial, but with the goal of settling it in a timely manner.
Helping you understand the pretrial process
The pretrial process for insurance cases in Alabama is very similar to those in other states. It typically takes place in stages, including, but not limited to:
- Complaint -- A complaint is made against an insurance company, often regarding an accident, injury, or other matter covered under an insurance policy.
- Answer -- The insurer responds to the complaint.
- Discovery -- In the discovery phase, the insurance case is considered to be at issue. The insurance company and the insured party exchange information about their views of the case. This process is also known as pretrial discovery, and may include the following:
- Interrogatories. Interrogatories are a series of written questions that each side must respond to, usually under oath. There may be an advantage to being the first in a case to request interrogatories, as this provides the opportunity to hear the other side's responses before your side answers any questions.
- Documents. Relevant documents, such as medical bills, receipts for vehicle repair, and so on, are provided.
- Deposition. A deposition takes place when the parties involved answer questions in person, typically under oath. Deposition is often considered to be the best way to find out what a party knows about a case. The defense will often call for depositions.
- Independent medical examination (IME). If injuries are involved in an insurance case, the defense may call for an independent medical examination to determine the cause and scope of injuries suffered.
- Pretrial settlement -- It is possible that even after going through all the steps listed above, the insurer may request a pretrial settlement. If so, then the case will likely go into mediation, so a settlement may be reached and the case will not go to court. However if mediation is not successful, then the case moves to trial.