If you have been injured in an accident that appears to be the fault of another party, there is a good chance that you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation, as these injuries can lead to significant medical expenses and considerable pain and suffering.
Although every personal injury case has its own unique circumstances, most of these lawsuits follow a similar process. Here is a look at what you can expect if you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Keep in mind that many personal injury cases will settle before a lawsuit is filed in court, so your case may not ultimately reach all of these stages.
Receive Medical Treatment
The first thing anyone should do following an injury in an accident is to seek medical treatment. Remember that you do not need to be severely injured to see a doctor; those with any pain or injury should see a medical professional as soon as possible.
This is not only recommended for protecting your health; insurance adjusters and juries might assume that your injuries are not very serious if you do not seek help right away. You will need proof of your injury for your case to have any chance of success.
Discuss Your Case With A Personal Injury Lawyer
Unless your claim is minor, you should discuss it with a personal injury attorney. This is recommended in cases where a person misses work for more than a few days, breaks bones, or raises significant medical bills. Your lawyer will ask you for all the details about your accident and will request all of the medical records and bills you have related to the injury and your treatment.
If your attorney believes you may have a case, they might agree to conduct an exploratory investigation. This includes determining if the defendant has the right assets or insurance to cover any potential judgments or settlements. Should your attorney deem the case viable, you will be asked to sign a fee agreement and make your relationship official.
Suppose your lawyer believes there is a chance that your case could be settled. In that case, they may make a demand to the defendant’s attorney or their insurance company once you have reached the point of maximum medical improvement, which means you are as recovered as possible.
Doing so before this point is not recommended because the total cost of your treatment is yet to be known. Many smaller cases will be settled before a lawsuit is filed. However, if the parties cannot reach a settlement, your case will enter the litigation phase.
Pre-trial And Discovery
Your lawyer will file a lawsuit in court which could take time, depending on the state in which you reside. Remember that personal injury lawsuits must be filed within your state’s statute of limitations, which is a set period following the injury during which you have a right to pursue damages. Failure to do so can result in your case being dismissed.
In the discovery phase of your case, each party will investigate the other side’s defenses and legal claims. Your lawyer and the other party’s lawyer may send questions and requests for documents to one another and obtain depositions from the parties involved in the accident, along with any witnesses. Depending on your case’s complexity, this phase may take several months or even a year.
Once the discovery period in your case is closed, your attorneys will start to discuss the settlement with the other parties’ attorneys. In some cases, they may reach an agreement on their own. In others, they may attend mediation, a process in which a third-party neutral mediator attempts to resolve the case by the clients and their legal representatives.
If mediation is not successful, your case will be scheduled for trial. Your trial may be over in less than a day, or it could take one or several weeks. Keep in mind that your problem may end up getting pushed back due to the judge’s schedule. During the trial, your jury will determine whether the defendant is genuinely at fault in the accident and determine how much the defendant must pay out in damages.
Following the trial, either party may launch an appeals process. Once this has been exhausted, a defendant who loses the case must pay the damages that were set in the trial or appeal.
Reach Out To The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
If you are considering taking your injury case to court to pursue the damages you are entitled to, be sure to reach out to the experienced personal injury attorneys at Lehr Law, APC today to discuss your case. They can help you get the assistance needed!