When people are hurt in motor vehicle accidents or sustain workplace injuries, it may be appropriate to file a personal injury claim to hold other parties legally responsible. While it’s not always an option in every case, it can be the right course of action for those who were hurt due to someone else’s negligence. If you have never worked with personal injury law firms before, you may be wondering exactly what this process involves. Although every case is different, most claims will follow the same basic process. We’re explaining this process in today’s post.
- Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney: The first step in potentially filing a claim is to meet with and retain a personal injury attorney. While a personal injury attorney is not technically required to file a claim, you will find this journey much easier to navigate with help from one. Do your research and schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney with ample experience in this area. They can assess whether you have a viable claim and can move forward with filing it.
- Investigate the Case: After you’ve retained your personal injury attorney, they will conduct an investigation into the specifics of your claim. These specifics may include your medical records and bills, police reports, vehicle data, evidence from the scene of the accident, witness testimony, and more. They may also work with medical experts and other professionals, and they will anticipate the possible defenses the responsible party may employ. All of this information will help your lawyer fight for your rights.
- Send a Demand Letter: You may not realize it, but around 95-96% of personal injury cases are actually settled pretrial. Usually, that’s due to sending what’s often referred to as a demand package. This contains a demand letter that outlines the damages and liability of your case; in it, you’ll detail your injuries, your medical bills and future medical care costs, your lost wages, your pain and suffering, and other reasons to seek monetary compensation. The letter will also outline the reasons explaining why the other party is responsible for these injuries (and subsequent damages). This letter may be reviewed by an insurance company, a business, or an individual. A response to this letter is then sent, which can contain an acceptance, a rejection, or a counteroffer. If the offer is rejected or the counteroffer is far from affable, you and your lawyer will likely move on to the next step.
- File a Suit: If your case cannot be settled pretrial and your lawyer has recommended you head to court to fight your case, you’ll then file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This suit may be filed against an insurance company, a business, an agency, or a private citizen. After the suit has been filed and the party has been served with the complaint, the case typically goes to court. During the trial, the facts of the case will be evaluated and fault will be determined. Many cases ever don’t get to this point, as many businesses and insurance companies want to avoid a costly and very public legal battle. In some situations, mediation may be employed before trial. But if your case does go to trial, the outcome will be determined by a judge or jury. Sometimes, cases are dismissed completely; in other cases, the party facing the suit will be found liable and the amount owed will be determined.
While no case is ever simple or exactly the same, understanding the basic process of filing a claim will help you to determine the best court of action for your situation. To find out more about filing a claim or to schedule a consultation with our legal team, contact us today.