What Are the Steps to Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The idea of suing someone for damages and going to court can be intimidating. The more you know about the process, however, the easier it is. Having an experienced injury attorney represent you will also make things go smoothly. As personal injury lawyers, we are often asked “what are the steps to filing a personal injury lawsuit?”
There are some variations based on the specific circumstances of the case, but most follow a fairly set pattern, which is detailed below.
1. Meet with an Attorney
Schedule a free consultation with our law firm to speak with an experienced accident attorney. During the meeting, we will ask questions about the accident, what happened, who was involved, and how your life has been impacted by it. This will allow us to make recommendations for what steps to take next.
To move forward, you will need to sign an agreement, hiring our firm to represent you. This agreement will detail payment and anything else that needs to be worked out ahead of time.
2. Paperwork Is Prepared
We will prepare the paperwork for your lawsuit, which will name the negligent parties, state the facts of the case, describe how you have been harmed by the actions of the defendant, and demand a predetermined amount of compensation according to your losses.
3. Discovery Is Completed
The discovery process allows us to gather information and conduct research into what happened. We may interview witnesses, review photographs and videos, and conduct depositions. During a deposition, we will ask the negligent party questions under oath to clarify certain aspects of what happened or to gain additional information that can be used as evidence in the case.
4. Pre-Trial Motions
Sometimes it is possible to resolve one or two issues outside of a full trial. In this case, motions are made and heard before a judge for a ruling.
5. Settlement Negotiations
Once we have valued your injury claim, we can prepare a demand letter and send it to the other party. This begins the negotiations process. The insurance company will typically make a lowball offer to start with. We will counter and go back and forth until a number is reached that everyone can agree on. If this is impossible, we will continue to trial.
Your trial’s court date will be based on the court calendar and the availability of the judges. Trials typically take place months after a lawsuit is first filed, which allows for additional time to negotiate and possibly settle out of court.
During trial, we will present your case, which includes making opening statements, questioning witnesses on the stand, and introducing evidence. The opposing attorney will also make arguments, question witnesses, and present evidence for why you were at fault or should receive less compensation than what you are asking for.
Afterward, both sides will make closing arguments and a jury will decide what the verdict will be. This will include a determination on negligence and how much to award for your injuries.
7. Collecting Compensation
If the other party is insured and the final verdict falls within their policy coverage amounts, collecting compensation is usually relatively straightforward. The insurance company will typically cut a check in short order. However, if the individual party must pay out of pocket, collecting on the judgment can be a process that requires further legal action.
Ask Questions of an Injury Lawyer
If you would like to learn more about the process or have further questions regarding your case, give us a call. We can go over each step in detail.
To speak with an experienced injury attorney at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP, complete the contact form on this page. You can also reach our office to schedule a free consultation by calling 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462).