What To Expect
Prior to filing a lawsuit, we will perform an extensive review of your potential case.
We first attempt to resolve your case without court involvement. The courts are only necessary if the parties cannot resolve their differences. It’s in everyone’s best interest to settle cases rather than sue. One of the first steps we take is gathering facts to build your case. One of the most important facts is when your injury happened. The law limits how long you can wait before suing. In auto accident cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to sue. In other cases, the clock might not start ticking until the time you became aware of the harm or injury.
We must also ensure that all necessary parties to your case are identified and have a proper address where they can be served with court papers. Generally, a necessary party is any person or company that may have an interest in the outcome of the case. After you have identified the parties, the next step usually is to inform the other parties of the potential lawsuit. This notification is usually a demand letter—the first step in attempting to settle a case before it is filed.
If the settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, then your only recourse is to prepare and file a complaint.
Preparing and Filing a Complaint
If you are unable to resolve your dispute by settling, then you will need to file a complaint before the statute of limitations expires. Most cases in Illinois are filed in the county court where the injury occurred. However, depending on the nature and facts of your case, you may need to file your case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois or the Court of Claims for the State of Illinois. The complaint must include all facts known to you that form the basis of your complaint. It must specifically describe the nature of your claims and the facts that support them. The complaint must also include a demand. This demand is the specific relief you are seeking from the court.
Once the complaint is filed, a summons will be issued for the defendant. A copy of the complaint and the summons must be served on the defendant, either by the county sheriff or a process server. After the defendant is served, the lawsuit begins in earnest. The defendant has about a month to file its appearance and respond to the complaint. That response can be either an answer or a motion of some kind. If your claims are properly pled and well-founded, then the case should move on to the next stage.
Discovery is the exchange of information between parties to a lawsuit. The purpose of discovery is to find facts and evidence that support your case at trial. Discovery includes: interrogatories, requests for admission, requests for production of documents, depositions, and physical and mental examinations of persons. A vast amount of information can be obtained in discovery. It can be a lengthy process, depending on the type of case and the conduct of the parties.
The majority of the discovery process is transparent to clients. Clients typically get involved in discovery by responding to interrogatories and requests to admit. Your attorney will tell you what questions need to be answered and will draft the appropriate responses. The biggest part of discovery that requires client involvement is when the other parties take depositions. All parties are expected to participate in the discovery process in good faith. Failing to appear for a deposition (or refusing to be deposed) can result in the dismissal of your case.
Many lawsuits end at the summary judgment stage. A motion for summary judgment asks the court to rule on some or all of the issues in a case without conducting a trial. When there is no genuine issue of fact on a specific point, then courts will grant partial or full summary judgment. A partial summary judgment resolves one or more issues in a case, but not the entire case.
In the State of Illinois, a trial is a hearing in court before a judge or jury to resolve disputes between two or more parties. Jury trials involve a panel of twelve jurors. Bench trials are conducted before, and decided by, the judge.
Jury trials generally last more than a day. This is because, before the trial can start, the attorneys must select a panel of jurors. There are also pre-trial motions that must be addressed. These motions are generally ones designed to keep specific testimony or evidence out of the trial. The attorneys and the judge will also begin determining what instructions will be given to the jury when it is sent out to deliberate.
Once a jury is selected, the parties begin their opening statements. Then the plaintiff presents its case. Once the plaintiff’s case has been presented, the defendant presents its case. After both sides have presented their witnesses and evidence, closing arguments are given. The jury is then given instructions regarding the law and how to apply it to the facts of the case. Once the jury reaches a verdict, the foreman of the jury reads the verdict to the parties. The jury is then discharged and the case is over
What our clients think of us
Second to None
Mr. Woerthwein’s expertise in foreclosure defense is second to none. Not only does he have great command over the complex legal issues surrounding mortgage backed securities (MBS), he is one of the few Illinois attorneys who can actually claim meaningful success against major Wall Street banks. His clear, concise and brilliant legal brief filed in the Northern Illinois District court enabled him to prevail in his Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff bank’s foreclosure complaint WITH prejudice for lack of standing. For the first time since the financial crisis began in 2008, courts across the country are discovery what homeowners have known for some time — most banks foreclosing today don’t have proper standing !
Superb Legal Counsel
Mr. Woerthwein and his team are exceptional. Not only did they handle my foreclosure case, but they did it expeditiously. Ted is head and shoulders above most Chicago lawyers I interviewed because he is well versed on the complex legal issues surrounding Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS)