Understanding the Process of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Understanding the Process of a Personal Injury Lawsuit copy

While some injury claims are deliberate, other personal injury lawsuits can be the cause of an honest mistake. All the same, accident or not, the pain that can happen to you is not reduced either way. Fortunately, the law protects your legal rights from mishaps and the confusion thereof. However, the process can be lengthy and demanding on your mental, emotional and physical faculties, but the outcome can be worthwhile. 

When a person suffers damage to their body or mental well being, they may file a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits arise due to negligence, or gross negligence, while they can also arise due to reckless conduct and intentional conduct. Sometimes, a personal injury lawsuit will have been the cause of strict liability. A successful claim will reward the ‘plaintiff’ with compensation that is proportionate to the damage done. That said, if you are the victim of a personal injury, Here is the process of a lawsuit:

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal Injury Lawsuits copy

Typically, there are two ways to approach a personal injury lawsuit. Either formally or informally.

Formal Lawsuit

Personal injury claims are civil cases and are therefore initiated by a private individual. The individual will file a complaint against the at-fault party, the defendant, claiming that they are victims of recklessness or negligence. The defendant can be a business, government agency or another person.

Informal Settlement

On the other hand, informal settlements happen before a lawsuit is filed. In reality, informal settlements are more common than formal lawsuits. They hope to resolve the dispute by negotiating and involving the concerned parties, insurers, and lawyers.

Statute of Limitations

After an injury has occurred, the plaintiff will have a specified period in which they can file a lawsuit. This period is known as the statute of limitations. The period typically begins when the plaintiff discovers the injury, and within that time frame, they are allowed to sue the defendant. The statute of limitations usually varies depending on the state and type of injury. However, once a lawsuit is filed, the limitation is lifted, and the plaintiff will await a verdict. More serious crimes share a longer statute of limitations, as opposed to smaller crimes like slander.

How to Act

In order to obtain the desired outcome, a plaintiff will need to act in a methodical way. This approach will help build a strong case, which will hopefully end with reasonable compensation. Here is what you need to know:

Get Medical Treatment

The first thing a plaintiff should do as soon as they discover their injury is immediately get medical treatment. This should happen regardless of how the plaintiff feels, even if it is as minor as a paper cut. Apart from the obvious benefit, which is tending to your health, this will also be important evidence for the insurance company and the court. Otherwise, both the insurance and the court will assume that the injuries are not serious.

Talk to Witnesses & Gather Evidence

Another thing that must be done instantly, the plaintiff must look to collect all of the evidence they can get their hands on. This will include taking photographs and videotaping the scene where the injury took place. However, that may not be enough, and as such, the plaintiff should also talk to witnesses. Anyone that can corroborate your story must be regarded as a witness. Look to gather their contact information, which will be important later on. 

Personal Injury Lawyer

After you have received medical treatment and collected as much evidence as you can, you will need to speak to a lawyer. Start by walking the lawyer through the incident, and giving them all of the evidence you have. They will give you legal advice and work to strengthen your case. Expect to be met with a fight, so make sure that you have a lawyer by your side. The legal advisors over at Guajardomarks.com stress the importance of hiring legal representation, seeing as the legal system is so complex. This is because the insurance company lawyers will come out in force and look to defeat your injury claim, due to their job focusing on minimizing the insurance company’s financial exposure. 

Your lawyer will carry out an investigation, and make a strong case on your behalf. This will include your medical records and bills, which are the basis of your claim. After doing so, your personal injury lawyer will then begin negotiating. This is done before they file a lawsuit. The negotiations hope to avoid the complications of trial and the expensive fees. Demands and negotiations usually begin after a plaintiff has reached maximum medical improvement. This is done so that the attorney can estimate the case’s worth, which is otherwise unknown.

File a Lawsuit

If settlement talks fail or remain ineffective, the next step will be to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your lawyer will take care of this by filing the lawsuit in court. It usually takes 1-2 years for personal injury cases to go to trial.

Discovery Phase

Each party will then investigate each other. The aim is to weaken the opposing argument while strengthening your own. Discoveries are shared with the defendant, as well as a list of witnesses and any other document. This can take as long as a year, though it depends on the court’s deadlines. 

Mediation

After the discovery period has ended, each side usually reignites settlement talks. Oftentimes, lawyers will settle among themselves. Though, you should expect to attend a mediation session with your lawyer, the defendant, and their lawyer and a third neutral party. 

Typically, a personal injury lawsuit does not take that long, and if it does, it is usually settled by the time of the second negotiation, or mediation. However, should it take longer, either side will try their luck in a trial, which can take a day, a week or more. As long as you have a trusted attorney at your side, then you should not worry. And remember to move quickly with the medical treatment and evidence collecting. 

Source: Martinihouse

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