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Understanding the Legal Process with

Understanding the Legal Process with

At, we pride ourselves on guiding our clients through every stage of the legal process with clarity and confidence. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the initial steps of a lawsuit, helping demystify what can often feel like a complex journey.

Lawsuit Step 1: Service of Your Complaint and Receiving an Answer

The first crucial step in your legal journey is the service of your complaint. This formal document, which initiates your lawsuit, outlines your claims against the defendant. It must be served within 90 days of filing your lawsuit. This service is a critical step, as it officially notifies the defendant of the legal action against them and lays the groundwork for your case.

Once served, the defendant has a legally mandated time frame to respond – typically 21 to 28 days, depending on how and where they were served. It's common for defense attorneys to request extensions, sometimes leading to answers being filed up to 60 days after service. In most cases, defendants deny the allegations, setting the stage for the discovery phase.

Lawsuit Step 2: Discovery

The discovery phase is a critical period where both parties gather detailed information about the case. It usually lasts about 180 days and involves various methods of information gathering:

  • Interrogatories: These are written questions sent by the defendant to you, which require thorough and accurate responses. Our team at assists you in answering these questions, ensuring they are completed within the 28-day deadline.

  • Depositions: This crucial step involves you giving sworn testimony in a question-and-answer format, recorded by a court reporter. Your deposition holds the same weight as court testimony and is vital to your case. Our team prepares you extensively for this process, ensuring you understand the types of questions to expect and how to address them effectively.

Lawsuit Litigation Step 3: Alternative Dispute Resolution

After discovery, the court typically encourages Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), a process aimed at resolving the case without a full trial. ADR can take several forms:

  • Case Evaluation: In this stage, a panel of court-appointed attorneys reviews the case details and suggests a settlement value. This proposal is not an offer but a recommendation for resolving the case. As your attorneys, we have 28 days to either accept or reject this suggestion on your behalf.

  • Facilitation: Facilitation is a more interactive process where a facilitator (an attorney) reviews written briefs from each party and then works to negotiate a settlement. You will be present in a separate room with your attorney, while the facilitator shuttles between parties to facilitate negotiation.

  • Settlement Conference: Held in a courtroom, this conference involves the judge trying to mediate a settlement between both parties. Your presence is mandatory, and it is a more direct attempt to resolve the case under the court’s guidance

Lawsuit Step 4: Trial

Should the ADR process not result in a settlement, your case may proceed to trial. However, it’s important to note that in Michigan, only about 2% of cases reach this stage. Trials can be unpredictable and costly for both sides, which is why many cases are settled beforehand. If your case does go to trial, you can rely on for comprehensive preparation and robust representation. Our team will work tirelessly to prepare your case, gather necessary evidence, and strategize for court proceedings, ensuring that your story is told compellingly and effectively.

Lawsuit Step 5: Damages Recovery & Attorney Fees

The final stage, assuming a successful outcome, involves the recovery of damages and the calculation of attorney fees. Our office will provide you with a detailed breakdown of the gross recovery, deducting costs and attorney fees as agreed in your retainer agreement. It's important to note that attorney fees are calculated as a third of the net recovery, not the gross amount. Additionally, any liens, such as those from health insurance carriers related to your case, will be settled from the recovery funds.


Navigating through a lawsuit can be a challenging and intricate process, but with by your side, you are not alone. Our team is dedicated to guiding you through each step towards a successful resolution, ensuring that you are well-informed and prepared at every stage.


  • How long does the lawsuit process usually take?

  • The timeline can vary significantly, usually ranging from one to three years, depending on the complexity and specifics of the case.

  • Can I attend the case evaluation?

  • Typically, clients are not present during the case evaluation. Your attorney will represent your interests and communicate the panel’s suggestions to you.

  • What happens if my case goes to trial?

  • Trials are rare, but if your case proceeds to this stage, we ensure thorough preparation, including detailed discussions with you, evidence gathering, and trial simulations.

  • How is the attorney fee calculated?

  • The attorney fee is one-third of the net recovery after deducting costs. This ensures that your interests are prioritized.

  • What should I do if contacted by the defense or insurance companies?

  • It is crucial that you refer any communication from defense attorneys or insurance companies to us. Sharing information with them can inadvertently harm your case.

At, we understand the complexities of legal proceedings and are committed to making the process as transparent and supportive as possible. For more information or to discuss your case, please feel free to contact us.

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