Being injured in an accident can be a frustrating experience. Aside from the medical bills you’re going to pay, you can’t also go to work and earn some income while you recover. As a result, you might have to deal with some financial issues until you can resume work.
Luckily, most people who have sustained injuries in an accident are entitled to receive fair financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In its simplest terms, a personal injury case refers to a legal dispute that allows an injured person to get compensated when someone else is responsible for the incident.
If you consider making a personal injury case, here are things you should expect from the get-go:
Consulting A Lawyer
From car accident cases, to slip and fall cases, and to medical malpractice, there are many situations that might entitle you to file a personal injury case. Unfortunately, dealing with these circumstances, especially the legal aspects, on your own might only cause more harm to yourself and your family. Hence, it would be best to let an experienced lawyer, like Brian D. Guralnick, handle your case. Given their expertise on the matter, they’ll defend your rights as a victim of someone else’s carelessness.
In doing so, below are the things you should expect from them during your meeting:
- Provide you with a professional opinion about the pros and cons of filing a personal injury case based on your situation
- Tell you the details on how things might proceed should they take your case, especially when the settlement fails and reaches the court for trial
- Examine your supporting documentation, notes, medical records, and many more to determine your chance of getting compensation
- Discuss the payment method in case they agree to handle your situation. In most cases, you don’t owe any fee, unless you receive your financial compensation. This is called the contingency fee.
Researching About Your Case
Once you’ve hired a lawyer and made an injury case, the next thing you know is that they’ll start investigating your situation to clearly understand what happened. They’ll review all your papers and determine the extent of your injuries, the damages you’ve suffered, and the costs you should pay.
From there, they’ll come up with their findings and set up a strategy to negotiate with the insurance company and the party responsible for your injuries. At this stage, you can expect that your attorney is already making negotiations on your behalf to protect your interests.
Trying To Settle Your Case Before It Goes To The Trial
One of the most common expectations when making a personal injury case is the settlement process entered between you and the insurance company representing the party at fault. Typically, most personal injury claims don’t proceed to a lawsuit due to the settlement.
Hence, during this stage, the other party will make an offer to settle the case. Your lawyer will, then, provide their legal advice as to whether or not it’s a good idea to accept the offer. When the offer is fair and just enough to compensate for all the damages you’ve sustained, it might be practical to accept it and close the case. But, if the offer is below your lawyer’s estimated computation based on the extent of your injuries and the costs you’ve paid, it’s best to elevate the case to court for trial. That way, you can make sure that the money you recover is what you rightfully deserve.
Filing A Lawsuit Before The Court
When the settlement fails, your lawyer is expected to file a lawsuit in court. This means that a judge will take over the case through different stages, and these include trial. On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that filing a personal injury lawsuit before the court of law can be lengthy and time-consuming.
For instance, you may not know how long it might take to settle a personal injury case. But, more often than not, it might take several months to years, depending on your situation. This is the reason why you need to think through whether your situation should reach this stage or not.
Below are the steps your lawyer ought to take as they help you with your personal injury case:
- Preparation Of The Court Papers – The first step to do when bringing the case in court is to prepare the initial court papers, such as the complaints, answers, and other documents needed to begin the lawsuit. At this stage, you must understand the statutes of limitations applied to your situation so you’ll not waive any of your legal rights due to the filing of the papers beyond the deadline.
- Fact-Finding And Discovery – Under this step, your lawyer should be ready to get information from the other party to establish the facts of the case. Like you, the offending party will also collect information from your side. Make sure your legal representative has updated contact information of the witnesses, experts, and other relevant persons. That way, you can take advantage of this process in your favor.
- Filing Of Motions To Dismiss And Other Motions – Right after the discovery, the offending party can file a motion requesting the court to take action on the case. This motion can be a motion to dismiss the case. At this stage, the judge will schedule a hearing to give a chance to both parties to justify their arguments.
- Mediation – To avoid the complications associated with the trial, mediation can be conducted in which a mediator is assigned to bring the parties together and engage in settlement negotiations. During this process, you can opt to accept or reject the settlement offer.
- Trial – When the mediation fails, you should expect your case to go to trial. During this stage, your lawyer will present your side to the judge and convince them that you should get compensated for your injuries. After that, the other party will put up their defense to your arguments.
- Issuance Of Judgment – After hearing both sides, the judge will consolidate all the information and finalize their verdict based on whether the offending party is, indeed, liable for your injuries and the amount of compensation they should give you.
Indeed, it’s no question how making a personal injury case can become very complicated. However, if you want to make this process much easier and less stressful, keep the information mentioned above in mind so you’ll know what to expect throughout your journey of getting the compensation you deserve.
To help you make this happen, you should hire a personal injury lawyer who has the expertise and skills necessary to properly navigate this particular type of legal dispute.