If you suffered an injury due to someone else’s carelessness, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim to recover your losses and get fairly compensated. Bringing a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated, and even the slightest misstep can derail your claim.
At Goodman Acker, we provide personalized legal support to get injured people the compensation they deserve. It wouldn’t be fair for you to pay high medical bills, lose wages, and deal with pain and suffering at someone else’s expense. This is the personal injury process we follow in Detroit to secure the full, fair compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Free Personal Injury Consultation
A personal injury consultation typically takes between 30 minutes and one hour. We do not charge for this meeting and use it as a fact-finding and case-evaluation tool.
It’s important to understand that personal injury cases revolve around evidence. The more we can prove, based on a preponderance of the evidence, the stronger the claim. Before arriving at the law firm, gather the following information.
- Medical Records: These include bills and co-pays for emergency room services, doctor’s visits, medical specialists, tests, and others. Any prescription medications or over-the-counter products used to treat the condition or alleviate discomfort may prove valuable. It’s also prudent to calculate the mileage you incurred traveling to medical appointments.
- Pay Stubs: Bring verification of gainful employment and a record of lost wages due to the injury.
- Witnesses: Gather the names and contact information of all parties who saw the incident or can verify your subsequent condition.
- Accident Information: If you were able to take pictures with a phone of the accident scene, they may be admissible evidence. In automobile accidents, contact the police department and get a report.
Property damage may also be part of the civil lawsuit. Bring estimates of these losses and copies of related insurance policies. We also advise our clients to document any efforts made by insurance companies to settle out of court for pennies on the dollar. Once you have an attorney handling your personal injury claim, expect the settlement offer to go up substantially.
Personal Injury Claim Investigation
Once you have a Detroit personal injury lawyer to handle the claim, it may be necessary to investigate the accident and actions of the negligent parties. For example, let’s say you were in a devastating collision with a semi-truck. The CDL holder’s record may indicate a pattern of speeding, unsafe driving, violating hours of service regulations, or substance abuse. The U.S. Department of Transportation tracks heavy-duty commercial truck drivers’ actions. And while that’s one example, there may be evidence that a pattern of recklessness exists. It could be in your best interest to probe the following.
- Driving records and infractions
- Dog owners not securing aggressive animals
- Medical mistakes during surgeries and treatment
- Manufacturers releasing defective products
- Property owners not maintaining reasonably safe spaces
The investigation into these and other items may involve returning to the scene, looking for a pattern of behavior, and identifying all of the responsible parties.
Document Damages for Personal Injury Claim
Once all of the pertinent information has been gathered, our legal team calculates your total out-of-pocket expenses. Then we apply our personal injury case experience and knowledge to arrive at an accurate estimate of your future expenses. This is a particularly important and sometimes misunderstood facet of personal injury claims.
One of the personal injury areas that highlights the need for an experienced professional to evaluate future expenses is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Not long ago, these types of personal injury cases were undervalued. Victims endured decades of diminished quality of life, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.
Today, we have a clear picture of how much it costs to pay for long-term care and place a higher dollar value on the impact TBI has on everyday life. That’s why it’s critical to work with an experienced personal injury law firm in Detroit that can present an accurate accounting of your losses.
Pre-Filing Settlement Negotiations
Before filing the official paperwork with the courts and having the negligent parties served, we give the other side a chance to resolve the matter. Backed by the information and concise loss figures in hand, your Detroit personal injury attorney contacts insurance carriers or opposing counsel to discuss a settlement.
The other side typically views this phase as an opportunity to save money. The working theory is that, when pitted against a seasoned personal injury lawyer with an actionable case, settling avoids paying additional legal fees. Pre-filing settlements also take the X factor out of the equation, which is a jury awarding punitive damages. If the other side makes a good-faith offer to provide reasonable compensation for your losses, we can execute the paperwork. If not, we move to the next phase.
Filing the Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit sends a resounding message that you and your personal injury attorney are prepared to go to trial to secure compensation. The formal complaint will be filed with the court, and the at-fault parties and their representatives will receive a summons. All the damages will be included in the filing, as well as the total compensation sought. During this phase of the personal injury litigation process, the negligent parties typically have up to 21 days to respond in writing. But don’t be surprised if they make a more promising offer to avoid court costs and a jury decision.
Civil litigation requires both sides to exchange information regarding the incident, injury, losses, and other pertinent items. The purpose of discovery is to allow both sides to understand and evaluate the claim. And should the case proceed to trial, make affirmative arguments and defenses. In many instances, the parties return to the negotiating table with a better understanding of the personal injury lawsuit and compensation.
Mediation and Settlement
A low percentage of personal injury claims proceed to trial. That’s largely because the parties, and the court system, prefer to streamline the process by encouraging the parties to reach a settlement through mediation. Mediation usually involves presenting the facts and making a persuasive argument to an impartial arbiter. This avenue is more cost-effective than mounting a civil trial. Whether you accept or reject non-binding mediation, the outcome provides a ballpark compensation figure of what to expect from a judge or jury.
Going to Trial
Don’t be surprised if opposing counsel makes a reasonable offer just before trial proceedings are about to begin. No one wants to be at the mercy of the court system because it removes control over the outcome. In the event a settlement cannot be reached, the team at your Detroit personal injury law firm is fully prepared to make a thorough case and win an award.
Get Personalized Legal Support for Your Injury Claim
At Goodman Acker, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers works tirelessly to get injured community members the full, fair compensation you deserve. Contact our Detroit or Grand Rapids law offices and schedule a personal injury consultation today.