If you have been injured in an accident, you probably have a lot of questions. Do I have a case? What will happen if I pursue a claim? Will it go to trial? The process can feel scary and overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Every case is unique, and the exact order of events may not be the same in every instance, but, generally, the following will take place:
Meeting with Us
You have been injured, but may be unsure if you have a case. This is the time to contact us. During your free initial consultation, we will listen to your story and give you an assessment of your case. We can advise you of the pros and cons of pursuing a claim and what the next steps would be.
Preparing a Case
This process generally involves gathering any information, documents, or evidence relevant to your case. Make sure we receive copies of any documentation you have that might be relevant to your case including medical reports and bills, insurance policies, police reports, photos, and contact information of the other parties involved. At this stage, we will prepare a demand package and sent it to the insurance company for negotiations. If we don’t make initial headway with negotiations or the statute of limitations is too close, we will begin preparing the initial pleadings to file a lawsuit. This will consist of a Summons and Complaint.
Once these documents are completed, they are filed with the court and “served” or delivered to the defendant. They will be expected to answer the complaint, usually within 30 days.
The discovery portion of the process is where each party asks questions and requests documents from the other party. This process will give you and your lawyer a better understanding of the other side of the story and whether they have any evidence that might hurt your case.
Offer to Settle
Once the other side has “shown their hand” so to speak, and vice versa, a settlement offer may take place. More often than not, cases will settle out of court, often during a process known as mediation. Trials are lengthy and expensive, so it is often advantageous to all parties concerned if a settlement agreement can be reached. That said, sometimes it is not possible to reach an agreement and the case will go to trial.
This process has many parts, but generally, a jury will be chosen, and each side will present their version of the facts to try and prove their case. At the end of the trial, the jury will reach a verdict.
Once you obtain a judgment, you will need to collect it. This could go smoothly, and the defendant or defendant’s insurance company will pay immediately. Sometimes, however, collecting a judgment can be challenging and various collection tactics must be used.
Many decisions made by a state or federal court are appealable. In an appeal, you ask the court to revisit the case because an error has been made at the trial level. Few cases are ever appealed, and the decision to appeal a case is something that should be discussed in depth with your attorney.
Contact Us Today!
If you are considering pursuing a personal injury claim, come in and speak with us. We can help determine if it makes sense for you to pursue an action and go through the steps involved to get you the compensation you deserve.