General Steps in a Personal Injury Case
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, every case presents its own unique circumstances. With that being said, below is a general overview of several steps in a personal injury claim.
Step #1: Attorney Consultation
Before taking a legal action, it is critical to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. The attorney will determine if the negligence of another party was involved, the extent of your injuries, your medical costs, and determine all of your legal options to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Step #2: Accident Investigation
As soon as you hire your lawyer, he or she will conduct an investigation into your case. Your attorney will examine all of the available evidence from the accident, such as photographs, police reports, witness testimony, the accident itself, medical records and expenses, your employment history and earning capacity, and much more. In some cases, lawyers may seek professional assistance from accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and other experts in various fields.
Step #3: Obtain Settlement or File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Demanding for a settlement consists of writing a demand letter that outlines your case, including liability and damages. The letter is sent to the opposing party for review in order to reject, accept, or make a counteroffer to the demand. If your case cannot be settled during this phase, your lawyer may work with you to file a lawsuit seeking compensation.
Step #4: Discovery
Before trial takes place, each party obtains further evidence from one another, evaluating the nature of each side’s case.
Step #5: Mediation
In an effort to avoid trial, mediation between the parties may occur. Mediation is defined as an informal proceeding in which each side tries to reach an agreement in the matter at hand.
Step #6: Trial
If the case has not been settled or resolved via a court motion, the trial is the next phase. A jury will examine the facts of the case in order to determine fault and potentially award damages.
Step #7: Appeal
It is possible that the losing party may appeal a case. In the appellate court, however, new evidence cannot be used. Instead, the appellate judge will examine if any improper actions were made during the course of the original trial.