When one person’s negligence causes injury to another, the victim may be able to pursue compensation for the injuries that he or she has suffered. This is often done through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
Below, our attorneys explain the steps involved in filing a personal injury case. The personal injury attorneys at Janet, Janet & Suggs are familiar with all aspects of personal injury law and can assist you in filing a claim.
Steps in a Personal Injury Case
Each personal injury case is different, which means some of the steps involved may vary depending on the specifics of your claim. However, the basic steps in most personal injury cases are usually the same, including:
Seeking Medical Attention
Immediately following an injury, it is important to seek medical attention to take care of your own health and safety. This step also helps preserve your claim and shows the link between your injuries and the accident.
Contacting an Attorney for an Initial Consultation
The next step is to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help determine if you have grounds for a claim.
When searching for a qualified lawyer, you may want to ask friends and family for any recommendations. You should also look for the following qualities in the attorney you choose to represent you:
- Good reputation in the legal community
- Strong trial verdicts
- Knowledge of your type of claim
- Makes you feel comfortable
You can also use the initial consultation as a chance to question the personal injury attorney about his or her experience and track record of success.
A qualified attorney should also explain the personal injury process to you and how he or she gets paid. At JJS we work on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid unless you receive compensation.
Investigating Your Claim
The lawyer will want to take some time to evaluate the case and determine if there is a viable claim. He or she may review records such as:
- The police report
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Employment records
- Car repair bills or bills for other property damage
After reviewing the information above, the lawyer will be able to determine the viability of your claim and gain a better understanding about how your injury occurred and what types of damages you have sustained.
Sending a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company
If you were injured in a car accident, your attorney will file a claim with your insurance company or write a demand letter detailing the facts of the case and requesting what he or she considers to be a fair amount of compensation for the victim. This is the insurance company’s last chance to settle the case before a lawsuit is filed.
Filing a Complaint and Summons
If the insurance company does not provide an adequate settlement, your personal injury lawyer will prepare a complaint and summons to the other party. The other party must provide a timely response to these legal documents either admitting or denying the allegations.
Going Through Discovery
The discovery phase is when the parties ask for information from the other side or request that the other party admits certain things to narrow the issues at trial. Witnesses and both parties may attend depositions where they are questioned about the accident.
Negotiating a Settlement
At any point, the parties can decide to settle the claim. Often, the earlier the parties settle, the more time and money they can save.
Settling the lawsuit also helps ensure that the victim receives his or her money more quickly since the defendant can appeal the jury’s decision if he or she loses, further delaying the victim receiving compensation.
Going to Trial
If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the case proceeds to a trial, where the attorneys for both sides present their clients’ side of the case. This includes witness testimony and the presentation of evidence. After the trial concludes, the jury deliberates and announces the verdict and extent of damages, if applicable.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers
Suffering an injury does not necessarily give you grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Even if you have a viable claim, these cases are complex and difficult to navigate on your own.
Fortunately, you have the option of hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you throughout the legal process. An attorney can carefully review your situation to determine if you have a viable claim. He or she can then conduct a thorough investigation to compile all of the important evidence.
Your attorney can also explain each step of the legal process and give you guidance on what you can do to support your claim.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at our firm have decades of combined experience providing representation to injury victims in a variety of claims. We can manage every aspect of your claim and pursue your best interests every step of the way.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation with an award-winning personal injury lawyer.