Understanding how a personal injury lawsuit works can be difficult for the average person. Personal injury lawsuits typically involve a possible consultation with a personal injury lawyer and hiring them to represent you in your case. They will then conduct an independent investigation of your case. After this, a lawyer can guide you through pre-trial litigation, which includes discovery and court appearances, mediation, and either a settlement agreement with the other party or a trial in court.
A Lawyer Can Handle the Process on Your Behalf
Many victims of a personal injury accident consult with a lawyer regarding their case. While a personal injury lawyer is not legally required to receive either a settlement or go to trial, often a personal injury lawyer will be able to provide a professional opinion regarding an individual’s options. In many cases, a personal injury lawyer will work on a contingency-fee-basis, which means that they will not be paid unless and until they win your case and you receive compensation for your injuries and losses.
How the Personal Injury Case Process May Go
There are several steps to a personal injury case once you have made the decision to move forward and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. Often, injured parties pursue damages from an insurance company representing the person whose negligence directly caused their injuries and losses. The following is a brief overview of the steps in a personal injury case.
Petition for Damages
This legal document details the facts of the personal injury accident that form the foundation upon which a victim believes they are owed compensation (regarding the injuries and losses incurred due to the negligence of the defendant).
Answer to the Petition
The defendant (or the defendant’s insurance company) will respond to all allegations in the petition for damages.
This is a lengthy process in which both sides are allowed to obtain both physical evidence and documentation (as well as the testimony of all parties), with respect to the personal injury accident. Discovery will include a request for the production of documents and a request for admissions, as well as sworn testimony from all relevant parties called interrogatories.
Depositions are when the parties sit together with a court reporter present to answer questions (under oath) from the opposing side regarding the personal injury case.
Depositions of relevant experts are often done at this point in the personal injury case. These can include accident reconstruction specialists, life care planners, physicians, and economists, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.
In many personal injury cases, there will be a mediation process. This mediation process allows both sides to sit down with a neutral third party called a mediator, in an attempt to resolve the case where everyone is in agreement on the final terms and settlement offer. At this point, the victim will extend a final demand and the defendant (or the insurance company representing the defendant) will extend their settlement offers. If there is an agreement, a settlement is reached and there is no need to continue on to a court trial.
If the parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement, the case will go to trial. A trial happens in a court of law and typically follows a pattern of statements, arguments, jury deliberation, and verdict. Although a victim may win their personal injury case, collecting judgment may take additional work.
In some cases—depending on the circumstances—either the plaintiff (victim) or the defendant will attempt to appeal a decision or judgment by the court, which then requires another legal process. The appellate process is quite different from the original trial process.
Accident Victims Usually Pursue Settlements
Settlements allow a victim to recover compensation for their injuries and losses related to a personal injury accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness. In most cases, personal injury cases will settle prior to going to trial. Many personal injury cases settle long before the trial process and preparation begin.
Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers
If you were involved in an accident that resulted in personal injuries, you may feel overwhelmed at the process of attempting to receive a fair and just settlement offer from an insurance company. You may not know how a personal injury lawsuit works, or what preparation needs to be done to bring your case to trial.
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at (855) 529-0269. We provide a free consultation where we discuss your personal injury case. We work on a contingency-fee-basis and will only collect our fees once we win your case.
For a free legal consultation, call (855) 529-0269