If you have been in an accident recently, you might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, starting a court case you’ve never been involved in can be scary. What does a personal injury lawsuit involve, and what are the subsequent steps?
A personal injury lawsuit involves several steps, from finding a good lawyer to actually going to court. If you are considering this route, you’ll need a personal injury attorney or a good local lawyer of some sort.
However, it’s good to know how the process works before you start looking at lawyers. Here is a brief guide to how a personal injury case works and the steps involved. Although there aren’t many, they are complicated and involve time and effort.
Finding a Lawyer
The first step in any personal injury case is to find a trustworthy lawyer. While it’s possible to file a personal injury case on your own, it requires a lot of paperwork, stress, and time and can be extremely difficult to accomplish while trying to recover from a life-changing accident.
Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and will be able to tell you whether you have a tenable case. In addition, many attorneys will not charge you until you win the case and receive compensation. A good lawyer can help you decide how much you will ask for and what is viable.
Once you’ve hired a lawyer, the next step is gathering evidence to support your case. In order to prove a personal injury case, the claimant will have to prove that the accident caused lasting injuries (either mental, physical, or emotional) and was caused by an act of negligence on the defendant’s part.
Your lawyer will talk with your medical team and the insurance company to prove lasting physical damage. Evidence of negligence is harder to find, however. It can generally be gathered from eyewitnesses, security cameras, or proof of workplace unsafe behaviors.
Insurance and Healthcare Claims
As part of gathering the evidence for a trial, a lawyer will have to deal with insurance companies’ red tape and wait times. While some insurance companies file personal injury claims for their customers, companies in no-fault states do not help the process and can actually slow it down.
Luckily, a good lawyer will know what to look for and who to ask. They will find the proper proof and paperwork to file a legal claim without missing any deadlines or exceeding the statute of limitations.
Filing a Claim
With the evidence in hand, it’s time to file a claim. Your lawyer will meet with you to discuss your final terms, based on the evidence gathered, and how much compensation you will request. Then, the lawyer will take care of filing the claim itself.
Once the claim is filed, you will wait for the defendant to respond. In many cases, defendants choose to settle out of court, paying compensation to avoid a public and potentially long court case. However, some cases do end up in court.
Going to Court
If the defendant decides to go to court, your lawyer will prepare the case for trial. They will be in charge of evidence, calling witnesses, and preparing you for court. Although it can be a stressful experience, a good lawyer can lead you through it.
Sometimes, personal injury lawsuits take months or even years to complete. However, most are judged and decided within a few court dates. Once you win the case, you will be able to pay your lawyer and use the rest of the compensation to pay medical bills and start your new life.
Although there aren’t many steps involved in a personal injury case, the steps are complicated. However, a good lawyer can take the stress and paperwork away and make it easier for you to focus on healing after your accident and preparing for your court day.