Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you care about has been injured because of another person’s negligence and you’re considering filing a claim or lawsuit to recover financial compensation, it will help to understand the general process.
A General Overview of the Claims/Lawsuit Process
The following is a general overview of a personal injury case. It’s not an exact roadmap and your case process might vary. A personal injury lawyer can further explain what you might expect during a consultation.
Meeting With A Lawyer
It is important you meet with a personal injury lawyer who has experience and a high rate of success. This should be the first step in pursuing damages as your lawyer will help you to determine whether or not you have a strong case. Assuming you do, it is almost certain the lawyer will take your case on contingency. This means they will only get paid if they win your case.
File a Claim or Lawsuit
The next step will be to file a claim against the alleged negligent party. Documents to be submitted may include complaints, answers, and motions. The claim will be filed at the appropriate court and then a Notice will be served to the defending party.
Discovery and Fact Finding
Your personal injury lawyer will examine your medical records, witness statements, police reports, photos, and so forth. They will be looking for strong evidence that assists in strengthening your case. This step is very important and usually, the most time-consuming. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer might choose to retain a private investigator. This is usually necessary if the defending party’s legal representatives are questioning liability.
Depending on the accident, you may need weeks, months, or years to recover. In extreme cases, you might never fully recover. Sometimes a lawyer may wait a bit to have a better understanding of the full extent of the damages. This is beneficial to you because it ensures you get what you need and deserve. If in the event a doctor says that they won’t know the full extent of the injuries for a long time, they may be asked for their opinion on what is most likely.
After you have recovered, and reached your maximum medical improvement, your lawyer will begin to evaluate the extent of your losses. This may include your medical bills, prospective treatment, lost wages, and so forth.
Send Out a Demand Letter
Once all of the evidence has been gathered and a settlement value reached, a demand letter may be sent. This letter may include a summary of all the steps above and the amount of money you are seeking.
Negotiations and Settlements
The majority of personal injury cases will reach a settlement before ever going to trial. As long as the insurance company is being reasonable and fair, your Memphis personal injury lawyer will likely recommend that you settle. Any good lawyer should explain your options and be ready to negotiate a settlement that you are satisfied with.
If a settlement cannot be reached, your case will be scheduled for a trial date. This will involve formal litigation and further steps that can be explained to you by your lawyer.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Patterson Bray, for their insight into personal injury and the stages of a claim.