Stages of a Personal Injury Case
Every personal injury lawsuit is different. However, every case more or less consists of certain common stages. The elements in a personal injury case include the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff is the person who is suing and the defendant is the person who is being sued. There are certain prominent litigation landmarks and processes the plaintiff and defendant can expect, right from the beginning of the lawsuit to its settlement or any other form of resolution.
Personal Injury cases might take certain twist and turns in the midway. It takes a specialized personal injury attorney to win the case in favor of the plaintiff. No loopholes should be kept open! Certain times the lawyer needs to be highly innovative in order to rectify certain unthinkable twists that might arise as the case proceeds.
Here is a list of the major stages in a personal injury case:
Going for the free consultation with a suitable attorney
A personal injury case always begins with the personal injury. Full-blown pieces of evidence corroborating the proper sequence of events are crucial. There should be proper evidence to support the claimed injuries caused to the plaintiff. No case will ever see the day of light with no exact proof supporting the plaintiff’s injury.
The small claims court limit differs from state to state. However, if the damages appear to be more than the small claims court limit, most plaintiffs usually look for hiring an attorney. The first visitation is usually free of cost by any genuine personal injury attorney. The plaintiff needs to provide a detailed overview of the entire sequence of events for the attorney to contemplate and analyze.
The length of the consultation can vary depending upon the specific attributes of your case. It also depends on the intensity of the circumstances that has led to your injuries. Car accidents are straightforward cases that do not require the first meeting to be complicated at all. However, if your injuries are complex involving things like medical malpractice or injuries, the consultation might go longer.
After the initial consultation, if the lawyer feels that the plaintiff might have a valid case, he agrees to conduct a thorough investigation. He might dig deeper into the fact whether the defendant has valid insurance or not. In case the consultation and investigation both lead the attorney to believe that the case genuine, he might become the plaintiff’s attorney.
Here is a list of points that you should stress upon during the free consultation with a reliable personal injury attorney:
· Whether the other party had shown negligence or irresponsibility of any form.
· Whether you deserve compensation from the defendant
· The nature and intensity of your injuries
· Your medical expenses
· Your legal options
Carrying out a thorough investigation
It is the duty of your attorney to carry out a thorough investigation with respect to your personal injury claim. Police reports, the accident scene, photographs, witness testimony, medical records and bills, your employment history and earning power, and more other relevant aspects should be looked into by the attorney. Your attorney might even collaborate with accident reconstruction experts, medical experts and other experts in a any of the relevant fields in order to strengthen your claim. Your attorney needs to anticipate the possible defenses of the opposing party and prepare himself accordingly.
Your attorney might ask for the vehicle data. He might need info on the condition of the vehicle. You might find help from video surveillance. Your lawyer also needs to obtain useful footage before it is destroyed.
Your attorney might question the accident witnesses to obtain statements. Your attorney needs to keep you informed regarding the proceedings of the case. Thus he should be aware of your legal needs and should take little steps to get them fulfilled.
The attorney might even take extra measures under certain circumstances such as enable video conferencing for their clients.
Demand for settlement
This stage might include a demand letter referring to your case. The letter might include liability and damages. Damages are inclusive of injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of life’s enjoyment and future medical care. The letter is then reviewed by the opposing party. The opposing party might be an individual, business and/or insurance company. The opposing party might entirely reject the demand or accept it. In case they reject, they might counteroffer. The demand letter needs to be genuine.
A good attorney makes sure to obtain a deserving settlement from the defendant. Thus, he prepares your case for trial from the very beginning.
Filing A Lawsuit to seek compensation
If your case cannot reach a proper settlement due to lack of disagreement between the 2 parties, your attorney might file a lawsuit seeking compensation.
Phase of discovery
Before the trial begins, the opposing parties obtain further evidence from one another. This allows each party to properly evaluate the nature of the other side’s case. This stage is a crucial one and depends entirely on how you seek info.
Stage of Mediation
A mediator is a current or former judge whose task is to oversee mediation between the parties. His main aim is to avoid trial. Mediation is an informal proceeding. Both the parties attempt to reach an agreement in the case. The steps taken in mediation impact the case strongly. The attorney should have a vast experience with mediation and dealing with negotiations.
Phase of Trial
If the matter is not resolved in the mediation stage also, trial is the last resort. The jury is impacts the final verdict in these cases. The jury evaluates the facts and figures, determine fault and possibly award damages.
All you need is a winning strategy that is proposed by your lawyer. A good attorney is a good track-record of winning such cases.
The appellate process
The losing party might appeal a case depending on the specific issues in the case. The appellate process is way different from the trial process. This process is best handled by an experienced appellate practitioner.