How a Personal Injury Case Works
Everyone has seen personal injury ads on TV. They all ask the same question: “Were you or a loved one injured? Call us today!” Lawyers that advertise on TV make it seem so easy to get money for your injury. These cases seem open and shut. But, this is not usually the case.
Personal injury claims take time. Each case is unique and requires a different amount of time and effort to reach a settlement. The legal process is complex.
Here are the basic things you need to know about how a personal injury case works:
Consultation with Personal Injury Attorney
The first step is having a consultation with a personal injury lawyer. You will meet to discuss:
- if there was negligence
- the extent of your injuries
- medical documentation and expenses
- available insurance coverage of those involved
- legal options you may have
If you have a valid claim and you want to work with the lawyer, you can choose to have the lawyer represent you. After the consultation, your lawyer will move to the next step in the personal injury claim process.
The next step is where your lawyer begins investigating the claim. Your lawyer will send out letters to everyone involved. The attorney will retrieve all relevant documentation. This includes medical expenses and reports, police reports, photos from the incident, witness testimonies, insurance information, and more.
The letters your lawyer sends out will also direct any and all information or questions go to them.
After compiling and reviewing this information, your attorney will prepare the facts and determine the total compensation you deserve.
The next step is for your lawyer to prepare a demand of settlement. Insurance will agree to the amount or work to negotiate. If the settlement is not agreed upon, you will move to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The lawsuit will be filed in the court of the proper jurisdiction to determine if you are eligible for compensation.
After the initial lawsuit is filed, both parties will relay their documentation and information to the other party. Each side will analyze the information to evaluate the nature and defense of the opposing party.
A great personal injury attorney will press the other side for any and all information to add to the probable success of their own case.
Often, the next step is mediation. Mediation is where both parties come together to try to reach an agreement. In mediation, a neutral person works between both sides to try to reach a mutual agreement.
If this step fails, both parties will prepare for trial. The trial takes place in court in front of a judge and jury. Both parties present their cases to determine the verdict.
The trial will determine if the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s injury. If so, the jury will decide how much compensation the defendant owes the injured plaintiff.
After the verdict is determined, the losing party has the option to appeal the case. An appeal seeks to overturn the original verdict in favor of the losing party.
Medical Bills and Liens
Once a case settles and the settlement check arrives, there is still more work to do. If you have a good lawyer, they will continue working for you. Your lawyer will negotiate to reduce your medical bills and liens. Many times, it’s possible to reduce all the bills. This helps you keep even more of your settlement money.
These are just the basics of how a personal injury claim works. Personal injury claims can be very complex. If you have questions about a possible claim, talk to a personal injury lawyer.