The Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are injured in an accident that is not your fault, then you have the right to collect compensation. To do so means filing a personal injury lawsuit. From the moment your accident happens, a clock starts on the time you have to file your case so it is important to know the steps to follow in your personal injury lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.
The actual process can get fairly complicated as no two cases are the same and various factors can influence how your case moves along and how quickly you will reach a settlement. At Hall Law we understand that dealing with the process of a legal battle can be stressful and difficult. That’s why our personal injury attorneys are ready to help fight your case for you so that you can focus on recovering and being with your family after your accident.
Having a personal injury attorney from our firm will make the process much easier to deal with and maximize your chances of fair compensation.
Breaking Down the Stages of Your Case
To help you understand the process of filing a personal injury case, we have divided the process into multiple steps with advice and tips on how to proceed with each step.
Stage 1: Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney and Filing Your Case
As we mentioned, the minute your accident happens, the clock starts on how long you have to file your case. Each state has a statute of limitations on personal injury cases and if during the process of filing your case you miss any of the deadlines, you could negatively impact your case.
The exact impact that missing a deadline can have on your case may vary. In some instances, your case may be denied outright. Other times you may receive less compensation or be left at the mercy of the judge in your case. Regardless of the situation, the longer you wait to file your case, the worse the outcome can potentially be.
The first thing to do is to hire a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will be able to help with the filing process including all the documentation you may need and advise you on any and all deadlines regarding your case. This makes these first initial steps that much easier to handle.
Stage 2: Get Checked Out By a Doctor and Document Your Injuries
The next stage of your personal injury case involves getting to a doctor as soon as possible and getting your injuries seen. Accident victims have a duty after the accident to seek prompt medical care for their injuries so as to not make them worse. If you fail to do so, it can negatively impact the amount of compensation you are eligible for.
There are two other reasons for seeing a doctor after your accident. First, you want to have a doctor examine you as all your injuries may not be evident right away. In some cases, it can even take weeks for an injury to show up. Staying in contact with your doctor is a good idea.
Second, visiting a doctor serves to officially document all your injuries, the treatments, medications, and other services that are necessary in order for you to get well. Having this documentation is crucial to proving your case and getting you the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Stage 3: Examining the Scene and Gathering Evidence
It’s important to remember that many of the stages of the personal injury case are going on simultaneously. While you are being seen by a doctor, your attorney is working to build your case and dealing with the insurance company, their lawyers, and investigators.
Once you have your injuries taken care of, the next thing to do is start building your case. You’ll want to have as much evidence as possible to prove your damages. The scene of the accident contains a large amount of that evidence.
Pictures of where the accident took place, the conditions, and what it looked like afterward are crucial. You should also get testimony from witnesses, and your lawyer can help with things like camera footage and documents like accident reports. This will all help establish the fact that the accident was caused by some form of negligence, which led to your injury.
Stage 4: Negotiating a Settlement
Most of the time this will be the final stage of your personal injury case. Once the facts have been weighed and evidence has been gathered by both sides, the at-fault party will attempt to negotiate a settlement.
It is at this point that your attorney will fight for you to get a settlement that is fair and just. Once the at-fault party has issued an offer, you will have the choice to accept the offer, issue a new claim, or reject the offer and insist on the full value of your damages. Having an attorney automatically raises the chances of you seeing a better offer, but you may have to go through a few rounds of negotiation before receiving an offer that covers the full damages of your claim.
If no offer can be reached, the process moves on to the 5th and final stage.
Stage 5: Going to Court
Most insurance companies do not like to let a personal injury case reach the courts because it means they will end up spending even more time and money for an outcome that is likely not in their favor.
During the court proceedings, the court will hear the case and examine evidence gathered by both sides before making a final judgment. The court has the authority to enter a judgment in whatever amount they deem necessary to cover the victim’s damages. This may be above or below the initial value of the case.
In addition, the court may add on what is known as punitive damages if the actions of the at-fault party showed a reckles disregard for the rights or safety of others. If however, the court’s decision is not what the victim had hoped for, they do have the right to appeal. Once a final judgment is reached, this is the last stage of the process before damages are awarded.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case? Let Hall Law Help Today!
The stages of a personal injury case can be frustrating and trying to go through them on your own while focusing on your recovery is not something anyone should have to deal with. Let Hall Law fight for you to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact us today!