- A Personal Injury Case’s Step-by-Step Procedure
If you have been wounded in an accident, you may consider hiring a personal injury lawyer but are unsure what to expect. The steps of a personal injury case are outlined here, how it moves through the insurance and legal systems, and how partnering with a law company may help you optimise your recovery and get your life back on track. For more details, you can Click here.
- The Accident and Its Repercussions
Being hurt is painful, and knowing what to do at that moment and the following period is difficult. Ideally, you will take a few critical steps to safeguard yourself and your right to compensation, such as collecting evidence, receiving medical care or guidance, maintaining solid records, and avoiding social media. Consultation with a lawyer about preserving your best interests is one of the wisest things you can do. Insurance firms take advantage of the fact that most customers are unfamiliar with the law. Insurance adjusters often discourage clients from hiring personal injury lawyers by claiming that legal expenses would deplete their payment. According to 1999 research conducted by the Insurance Research Council, accident victims who engage attorneys often receive more money than they would on their own, even after lawyers’ costs are deducted.
- What a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do
Too frequently, the individual responsible for your injury or the death of a loved one lacks the insurance coverage to repay your losses in whole or even in part. A qualified personal injury lawyer will go through every part of your case to see if there are any other ways to obtain damages. Other parties, such as the at-fault person’s employer if they were working, or a product maker if a faulty product was involved, may be held accountable. These third-party claims might be difficult for a layman to understand, but an experienced personal injury lawyer will know just what to do. Perhaps most crucially, the lawyer will notify the other party’s insurance company that he or she is representing you, advising them that they should handle all case elements via the legal office and not approach you. Being free of the other person will help you concentrate on your rehabilitation and well-being.
- Managing the Insurance Company
Dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company after an accident may be a complicated process that involves submitting a claim, negotiating a settlement, and determining whether to accept the other party’s proposal or go to trial.
- Making a Claim
The injured person must submit a claim with the insurance company representing the at-fault party as soon as possible after the accident. People commonly communicate this information in a car accident. In a premises liability case, a product liability lawsuit, or any form of accident, determining where to submit your claim may not be as simple. Furthermore, in order for your claim to be successful, you must provide supporting evidence of your injuries as well as proof that the other party’s activity, or lack to act, was the direct cause of your damage. You must decide the size of your claim: that is, how much money you will need to return to your pre-accident condition of health and well-being. This may include past, present, and future medical expenditures, lost earnings, compensation for pain and suffering, and various other issues. You must also prepare a persuasive, well-documented demand letter as part of your claim for damages to explain why you are due that amount. Your defence attorney can handle all of those activities for you, such as defining a fair and reasonable settlement amount and sending a demand to the insurance company, informing them that they must either settle for the requested amount or prepare to go to trial if they do not provide an acceptable counteroffer.
- Negotiating a Settlement
If the insurance company has not previously made an offer, they will reply by either accepting your demand or making a counter offer. Insurance companies often give what seems to be a decent sum, but when you tally up your current and prospective future losses, you may realise that the offer only covers a portion of what you would need to be made whole. You have the right to turn down any and all offers that do not fulfil your requirements — your right — to a complete recovery. Your lawyer will manage the arduous process of reaching a settlement. Be patient – most personal injury lawyers are good negotiators, and most personal injury cases are resolved without a trial to everyone’s satisfaction. The insurance company will eventually issue a final settlement offer. If the offer is too low, you and your attorney will determine whether or not to go to trial. There is always a risk in this decision: the jury may agree with you, or they may award significantly less than you requested — or they may find against you entirely. Your attorney will advise you on the best course of action, whether it is to file a personal injury lawsuit or accept the defendant’s final offer.
- Civil Court Trial
When you decide to sue, a significant chunk of the procedure will take place “behind the scenes,” and it may seem that nothing is occurring. But be assured that your attorney, case manager, and office staff are hard at work putting up a strong case: submitting papers, interviewing witnesses, engaging with accident and injury experts, and going through the rituals of a personal injury lawsuit.
- Filing a Complaint
Your lawyer will lodge a complaint with the court against the person or entity that inflicted you injury or the loss of a loved one to convert your personal injury case from a claim to a lawsuit. Your complaint will include the facts of your case, the amount of compensation you want, and the supporting evidence. Most states require the defendant to respond to your complaint within 30 days. There are various possibilities here:
If the parties cannot reach an agreement or the issue is not resolved by motion, the case will go to trial.
The “discovery” phase follows, during which each party exchanges papers and information regarding the case, including depositions and prepared questions for witnesses to answer under oath. In addition, your attorney will consult with forensic specialists to bolster your case and obtain and evaluate medical records and files. The defence attorney may request that you undergo an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) by a doctor of the defence’s choosing.
A lawyer for the opposing party will question witnesses in a deposition normally held at the attorney’s office with a court reporter present. You will be sworn in when giving a deposition, just like in court. You will not be alone; your attorney will accompany you. In addition, your attorney will work with you ahead of time to prepare you for what to anticipate.
- Trial and Jury Selection
In most personal injury lawsuits, each party can have the trial before a judge or in front of a jury. If either side decides on a jury trial, the next step is to pick twelve jurors. Most judges will take the plaintiff and defence counsel through a screening process of possible jurors to discover individuals who are acceptable to both sides.
- Statements to Begin
Following jury selection, the judge will normally give the jury some broad directions, following which the plaintiff’s attorney will make an “opening statement” outlining the facts that will be presented throughout the trial. The defence counsel may then make his or her opening statement or opt to wait until the plaintiff’s attorney has rested his or her case.
- Case in Chief
The plaintiff’s lawyer next delivers the “case in chief.” The defendant’s guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal court. In a civil action, the plaintiff’s burden of proof simply demonstrates that the defendant is at blame by a “preponderance of the evidence” or is more likely than not at fault. The plaintiff is generally the first witness in a personal injury trial, and he or she is questioned about the accident, what caused it, and how it has affected his or her life. This testimony will be utilised by the plaintiff’s lawyer to authenticate the victim’s economic losses, the pain and suffering caused by the injury, and to establish a significant change in the victim’s quality of life. The plaintiff’s attorney will also summon witnesses to testify about what they saw and heard and provide any facts or evidence relevant to the case.
- Expert Witnesses
The plaintiff’s attorney may retain an experienced accident reconstructionist to determine culpability. Medical professionals may be called to testify about the plaintiff’s injuries and future medical requirements, such as further treatment or permanent disability. A forensic accountant may be called upon to testify regarding lost pay or other financial losses. The victim’s employer may testify about promotions, and salary increases the victim would have received if the injury had not occurred. After the plaintiff’s lawyer has questioned the witnesses, the defendant’s counsel has the opportunity to cross-examine each one.
The defence lawyer makes their case after the plaintiff’s counsel rests his or her case. The defence may seek to blame the plaintiff for the accident and may call in its own experts to deny or reduce the plaintiff’s experts’ allegations. When the defence counsel retires, the plaintiff’s attorney has the right to rebuttal or refute the defence’s argument.
- Deliberations of the Jury
When there are no more rebuttals, the judge directs the jury, and they go to the jury deliberation chamber to pick a foreperson and begin the process of determining the case. While criminal proceedings need a unanimous judgement, civil courts only need nine of the twelve jurors to find the defendant guilty. If this occurs, they must next decide how much money the plaintiff should get. If the jury rules in favour of the plaintiff but for less than the sought sum, there are few possibilities for redress unless some major mistake or wrongdoing is established. However, this is a tough accusation to establish. If the jury returns a verdict in favour of the defence, your attorney will discuss the possibility of appealing the case to a higher court. If you win the lawsuit, the award, or the money owed by the defendant, will be given to your attorney or legal company. They will collect their fee, pay off any liens on your settlement (from medical providers or financing businesses to cover financial advances acquired during the trial), and give you the remainder.
- Bottom Line
Personal injury legislation may be difficult to understand. Hiring a skilled, experienced legal company to handle your personal injury claim step by step pays off. For a free consultation, contact us now. We operate on a contingency basis, so you will not be charged unless we win. Call us today: we have offices in ((((locations))) and are available to answer any questions you may have.
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