What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When someone else’s negligence disrupts your life, patience is key to pursuing a successful personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit is a civil matter that usually involves several steps before it resolves.
If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved due one due to a tragic —and perhaps preventable—accident or mistake, it is in your best interests to contact a personal injury lawyer today. A lawyer can provide legal representation to accident victims and their loved ones to help them seek compensation.
The Most Important First Step: Seek Medical Attention
One of the most dangerous outcomes of an accident is an injury or medical condition that masks serious physical harm. Accidents that cause a victim to suffer from shock or an internal injury are of special concern.
Getting a medical evaluation right after the accident may just save your life. It also establishes a medical record that may prove helpful if you decide to pursue compensation for your damages.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
If the accident you experienced was not your fault, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free case consultation that—upon a careful review of your information —helps them determine if you may have grounds to file a personal injury case.
A personal injury lawyer typically starts building a case by examining all available evidence. Providing a personal injury lawyer with the following types of evidence can help them determine if another party may be liable for your injuries:
- The police report for accidents involving law enforcement response, such as car, motorcycle, truck, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents.
- A store incident report for slip and fall injuries or other premises liability cases.
- Photos or video of the accident scene, collected by you or witnesses.
- Names and phone numbers for witnesses, which can sometimes be found in a police report if you did not collect this information yourself.
- Your medical records and bills, which can provide documentation of your injuries and related expenses.
- Employer and salary information, which can serve as proof of your lost wages due to time you missed at work during your recovery.
The personal injury lawyer you hire must prove that the other party was negligent to be successful in helping you secure compensation for your injuries. The list above, along with any other relevant evidence, can support your claim.
The Settlement Negotiation Process
Personal injury cases often settle without ever proceeding to trial. Settling a case out of court with an insurance company is less time-consuming and expensive than having your lawyer argue your case at trial. However, insurance companies are also tough negotiators who aim to pay as little as possible for your claim.
A personal injury attorney can counter these tactics and help you attempt to secure fair compensation. Make sure that the attorney you hire is willing to take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer. If your case proceeds to trial, your lawyer must prove the other party’s negligence before a jury or judge.
Personal Injury Lawsuit: When Court Is Necessary
While the pursuit of possible compensation begins with negotiations outside of court, filing a lawsuit is often necessary.
The statute of limitations sets a firm deadline for filing your civil case. The law allows two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. This may seem like a long time, but it can pass very quickly in the aftermath of a serious accident.
Accident victims who miss the filing deadline set by state law generally have no further legal options. Your fight for financial compensation is too important to leave to chance. A personal injury lawyer can protect your best interests by filing a lawsuit promptly on your behalf.
You Do Not Have to Handle Your Case Alone
Serious injuries leave you no time to manage your case alone—your health and recovery require your full focus. Paperwork, phone calls, and other aspects of your case are time-consuming, complex, and stressful.
A personal injury lawyer can stand by your side and provide you with timely updates about your case. The value of their commitment to you, their client, is invaluable as you move forward with legal action against those liable for your harm.
The sudden and unexpected changes to your life due to someone else’s negligence are not fair. Reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages are just two examples of the compensation possible in a successful personal injury lawsuit.
A Free Case Consultation Is a Good Place to Start
Discovering if you have grounds to file a personal injury case is the first step in the legal process. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free case consultation for accident victims. If you suffered serious injuries because of another person’s poor choices or reckless actions, a lawyer can help you. A free case consultation is an opportunity for your lawyer to learn more about you, the accident, and the effect on your life.
Time is not on your side when it comes to filing a civil lawsuit. Seek out an attorney’s help as soon as you can after your accident. You can also help your case by gathering any evidence you may possess and not sharing details about your accident with anyone except your lawyer. While you must act quickly to initiate legal action, the process itself takes time. Patience is key as your case moves through the negotiation phase and —if necessary—to trial.
Every personal injury case is unique, based on the facts of the accident and the harm that resulted. A traumatizing accident caused by someone else’s reckless actions is physically, financially, and emotionally difficult. You do not have to pursue your fight for compensation alone. Consider placing your case in the hands of a qualified personal injury lawyer today. Contact The Law Offices of George Salinas today.