We’ve all heard the horror stories of people filing personal injury lawsuits only to wait years for a judgment. Along the way, they paid a lawyer a large sum, only to come away empty-handed.
We hate to say it, but these stories are all too familiar all across the country. In today’s post, we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of what it’s like to sue for personal injury. We’ll explain the personal injury lawsuit process to prepare you for what’s ahead.
Consultation With an Attorney
The first step in a personal injury case is to talk with a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations where you can talk about the facts of your case.
Your lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a good reason to go to court and what your chances of winning are. The lawyer might also tell you how much money you can get and what you need to do to win your case. Visit this page to find a lawyer to help you through the whole process.
Filing a Complaint
A written document called a “Statement of Claim” is usually made in the county where the defendant lives or the accident happened. It goes over the facts of the case and explains why the plaintiff thinks the defendant is responsible for the accident or harm. Usually, a complaint must include information like who was involved, when and where the incident happened, what the defendant did that was careless, and what damage it caused.
Service of Process
Service of process means that the person who started the case has to contact the court clerk in the county where you live and give you or your lawyer a copy of the complaint. Usually, a process worker will try to give you the complaint in person thrice.
If those don’t work, you may be able to use other ways, like a substitute service or posting the complaint. If you don’t answer the charge within the time limit, a default judgment could be made against you. If you don’t respond to the complaint, you won’t be able to dispute the claims the plaintiff is making in the case.
Response and Discovery
During the response, both sides share information and papers that are important. During discovery, the parties are expected to turn over papers, answer questions about the accident in interrogatories, and give answers in depositions.
Parties can also ask for the defendant’s medical records and records of any crashes they may have been in before. Lastly, the parties can make a “lay discovery,” which includes asking non-expert witnesses about any facts they may have seen that relate to the injury.
Negotiation and Settlement
The phase of negotiating and settlement starts when the plaintiff’s lawyer asks the defendant or their insurance company for the personal injury claim for damages. The request must be fair and backed up by evidence from the discovery process.
The accuser will either make a counteroffer or say no if they think the demand is too high. The terms of the deal will be written down in a settlement agreement, which both sides must look over and agree to.
Pre-trial motions give each side a chance to say what they think about some legal issues before a decision is made about liability. The court also uses pre-trial motions to make better choices about handling the evidence and running the trial. Ultimately, the pre-trial process can help the parties narrow down or explain the issues that will be decided at trial.
Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution is when a neutral third party helps you and the other person resolve their differences without getting to court. This process is helpful in a personal injury case because it allows the parties to work out a deal between themselves so they don’t have to go to court.
ADR is also usually much faster and cheaper than going to court. It’s important to remember that mediation is optional, but once a deal is made, both sides are expected to stick to it.
During the sentencing phase, it is up to the plaintiff to show that the defendant did something wrong and hurt the plaintiff. The defense will say that the plaintiff did not show that the accused party was negligent or that the accused party did not cause the plaintiff harm.
If the plaintiff has the proof needed, the jury will decide if the accused person is responsible for the plaintiff’s harm. During personal injury trials, the parties can agree, but the jury will determine the result if they can’t.
Verdict and Judgment
The process of a personal injury lawsuit is over when a verdict is made and a judgment is given. If the plaintiff can show in court that the offender was careless, the jury will rule in favor of the plaintiff.
The jury could also decide to give the plaintiff a cash reward. This amount will include the plaintiff’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If either side is unhappy with how the hearing turned out, they can appeal to an appellate court. An appeal can be a whole new case or challenge the original court’s decision.
The appellate court can return the case to the trial court for more hearings or decide on the appeal. Depending on the facts of the case, the appeal court can also keep or change the trial court’s decision.
Enforcement includes rules and methods for what to do when a party doesn’t follow a court order. Enforcement steps can help stop people from disobeying a court order, which helps bring justice. All actions taken to enforce the law must be legal and follow a state or federal law on personal injury.
Getting To Know the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
The personal injury lawsuit process can be difficult and time-consuming, but the reward of financial compensation can be invaluable. It is important to remember to seek skilled legal guidance and protect your rights throughout
If you have been the victim of an injury, You need someone who can explain your options and ensure you get the full compensation you deserve. Get in touch with a personal injury attorney today to help you navigate every step of the process.
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