What To Expect During a Personal Injury Case
For many, filing a lawsuit or hiring an attorney for a personal injury case can be overwhelming and may also be your first time being involved with the legal system. It may be helpful to know what you may be getting involved in and what to expect so you can feel more prepared. It is important to remember that all cases are different and may have different timelines and outcomes.
Seek Medical Attention
Once you are injured, see a doctor and have them document every treatment plan, diagnosis, physical therapy, and medications. It is important for your case to see a doctor for an injury or pain that you may be experiencing from the accident. Take note of all expenses that you pay for doctor visits, therapy, medications, etc. This is important so that you can prove the financial hardships from your injury and get compensation for your bills.
Speak with an Attorney
If you decide that you would like to make a claim, consult an attorney that handles personal injury cases and hire one to represent you on your case. You should especially hire an attorney if you are suffering significant hardships or decreased quality of life. If you are unable to work the same amount as before the injury or at all, your medical bills are causing financial hardship, or you are in physical or emotional pain, the sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner your claim can be brought to court or settled.
Preparing for Your Case
After hiring an attorney, you will need to discuss all aspects of your case, collect evidence, and decide to either settle out of court or file a lawsuit. At this stage, it will be helpful to collect all medical bills and payments that you have made, collect any names of witnesses, pictures of injuries and accident site, and notes that were taken about the incident.
Making a Demand
Your attorney will make a demand of money, either once you have completed treatment or before you complete treatment. The benefit of waiting to make a demand until after you have completed medical treatment, is that you will be able to make the maximum demand possible, because you will have all expenses that were paid. The benefit of making a demand before completing treatment is that you will be able to be compensated and get help paying the bills sooner. Either way, your attorney will evaluate all the evidence of the case and your individual situation and make a recommendation.
Once your attorney makes a demand against the person or party in question, they may either find an attorney to help or help you themselves. At this stage, negotiating the amount of money will take place and if an agreement cannot be reached, your attorney can file a lawsuit.
Discovery, if a Lawsuit is Filed
During this stage, both attorneys or sides can collect evidence, statements, and witness testimonies.
Making a Settlement or Mediation
At this point, the attorneys discuss the case and can either agree with a settlement amount, or have a neutral party, called a mediator, listen to both sides and help the attorneys come to an agreement.
Going to Trial
If a settlement still cannot be reached after mediation, the claim can be brought to trial and go in front of a judge. Once trial is over, a decision will be made on the claim.
This list may seem daunting or confusing, but rest assured, hiring a personal injury lawyer will make the process a lot less intimidating. An attorney will prepare, give recommendations, and be an advocate for you during a difficult time. Again, this list is a general list of stages for a typical personal injury case, but every case is different. Your case may happen a little differently than the steps mentioned above, but this can give you an idea of what to be prepared for.