Personal injury cases are almost as many as the different kinds of ways there are to get hurt. Personal injury law covers a wide range of situations, like a car accident or a slip and fall. So, no two cases will go exactly the same way or on the same schedule.
A lot depends on how bad the injuries are, how clear certain things are—most importantly, who was at fault—and whether or not the accident is covered by an insurance policy. Most cases of personal injury are based on negligence, which is when someone doesn’t take reasonable care when they could hurt someone else.
For example, a driver who was driving while drunk might have been careless. The driver probably wouldn’t have broken the rules of the road and hit the claimant if they hadn’t been drunk.
Even though it can be hard for plaintiffs to prove negligence on their own, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help their client through this step. If someone wants to go to court over a personal injury, they need to tell everyone involved that they plan to do so. “Service of process” is another name for this. Most of the time, a professional process server, court official, or law enforcement officer personally delivers the notice.
A person should be able to concentrate on their health and well-being after suffering an injury or being involved in an accident. Personal injury cases assist victims in getting the money they are due, but can often make rehabilitation more stressful. Fortunately, knowledgeable personal injury lawyers are available to help accident victims through unforeseen situations. Here are some procedures that should be done for a personal injury claim.
If you were hurt and you think someone else might be legally responsible, you might want to find out if that person has insurance that will cover any injury claim you make. Does the other driver have insurance after a car accident? Who owns the land if you slip and fall and get hurt? Do they have liability insurance?
This is important because it can affect whether or not you can actually get the money a jury may award you in a personal injury trial. Having a judgment in your favor is one thing, but collecting on that judgment is another, and the story may not have a happy ending if the defendant has no insurance coverage that applies and very few assets.
Think about how bad your injuries are and whether or not your own insurance might be able to help. If you weren’t seriously hurt, it wasn’t clear who was at fault, and you have health insurance, you might want to think twice about suing someone who doesn’t have insurance.
Unless your injuries are minor and you’re sure you can get a good result from your claim, it’s probably best to at least talk to a personal injury attorney about your case. Just because you talk to an attorney doesn’t mean you have to hire one. Most personal injury lawyers will be happy to meet with you for free to talk about your case and give you an idea of what your legal options are.
In most agreements between an attorney and a client in personal injury cases, the attorney works on a “contingency” basis. This means that the client pays nothing unless the case is settled or won in court. Then, as payment for his or her work, the lawyer takes a percentage of the settlement or judgment that was agreed upon.
Depending on how much money is at stake and how complicated the legal issues are in your case, as well as how far the other side is willing to go, it might be worth it to pay for an attorney to do the fighting for you.
Anyone who has been hurt or been involved in an accident ought to get medical help right once. A trip to the emergency department or your primary care office may be necessary in this situation. Even though many problems do not manifest right away after an accident, an early assessment may be able to alleviate or even prevent the worst symptoms. Early medical records can also be used as proof before a jury and an insurance adjuster if a lawsuit is subsequently required.
After getting the right medical care, claimants might want to write down all of their injuries, damages, and medical treatments related to the accident. In particular, it is helpful to gather evidence about what caused the accident or injury and how it has changed the victim’s life. If there have been trips to the hospital, missed days of work, or medical bills, this is very important to write down.
Most personal injury cases are settled before they go to court, as you’ve probably heard. In fact, many cases are settled before a civil lawsuit is even filed.
There are ways to get paid for an injury that don’t involve going to court and filing a lawsuit. Again, if the person at fault has insurance, you can file a “third party claim” with their insurance company. You would start by getting the name and policy number of the other person’s insurance company.
Then, send the company a notice of claim with information about their insured, your information, the date of the accident, and a letter saying that you were hurt and want to file a claim. Don’t get into details right then. This will happen later on during settlement talks and in letters like the demand letter.
You can always start a personal injury lawsuit by filing a complaint in the local branch of your state’s civil court if your insurance claim gets stuck or settlement talks fail. The personal injury statute of limitations in your state is an important law to remember. This law tells you how long you have to file a lawsuit after getting hurt, so it’s important to understand it and follow it.
When the plaintiff and his or her lawyer file a personal injury lawsuit in court, the legal process starts. This will start the discovery phase, during which each side will look into the claims and defenses of the other side. It is very important that both sides answer all questions as honestly and completely as possible. Because there is a lot of writing to do in the discovery phase, it can take up to a year but will go much more smoothly with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Many people believe they may not need legal representation if their injuries are small. This is not always the case, though. If you do not really engage a lawyer, you could still make errors with your medical bills and other charges.
It is important to speak with a lawyer if you have serious injuries or lost income as a result of the accident.