Who decides my case?

In many cases YOU are the one who decides your own case because, if a settlement offer is received, YOU decide whether it is accepted. In cases that do not settle, the answer will vary depending upon the type of case. In most personal injury cases, a jury decides the facts and renders a verdict after receiving instructions on the law from a Judge. In family law cases, a Judge decides the case. In Workers’ Compensation cases, the matter is initially decided by a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.

If I reach an agreement outside of court, do I still have to attend court?

The answer varies depending upon the type of case. If a settlement is reached in a personal injury case or civil litigation you generally will not have to attend. In a family matter or workers’ compensation case attendance is normally required because a Judge or Commissioner must approve your settlement.

Will my children be required to testify?

Normally children do not testify. Judges do not encourage testimony from children, most attorneys seek to avoid embroiling a child in litigation, most parents do not want their children to testify, and the Judge often appoints a guardian ad litem for a child in the hope of avoiding the need for child testimony. However, a case that was decided in 2010 creates some uncertainty in this area.

Can I get reimbursement for my attorney fees and costs?

Generally each person must pay his or her own attorney fees and costs. However, there are many exceptions. For example, if a person intentionally injures you, you may receive some reimbursement. In a divorce, the Judge has the discretion to order reimbursement in an appropriate case.

Can I personally deliver my complaint to the person I am suing?

No. The papers have to be formally served by a State Marshal. If you are concerned about this process, the Marshal may take steps to avoid undue embarrassment to the person being served by calling in advance or otherwise making mutually convenient arrangements.