Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. When they do, they can cause a lot of damage to the injured person and their loved ones. The good news is that you can recover your damages by filing a personal injury claim, especially if you are injured because of someone else’s negligent actions.
However, the process of filing a personal injury claim can seem complicated, especially because most people only think about knowing about it when they are involved in an accident; However, once you’ve hired a lawyer, it may be easier than you think.
First of all
Assuming you have done the basics like getting medical help, collecting the evidence from the accident scene and all other relevant evidence like the police report, the next step will be to file the claim.
It’s critical to understand that different states have different statutes of limitations, so you’ll need to make sure you file your case within your state’s statute of limitations to avoid losing your right to compensation.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
If your injuries are serious, the first step should be to hire a personal injury lawyer. Claims involving serious injury can get complicated and having an attorney for your case can greatly increase the likelihood of a full and fair settlement. You don’t have to worry about the cost of hiring an attorney when filing a personal injury claim; you only pay them when they win your case and you recover your damages.
Once you have an attorney on your case, the next step is to serve the defendant with a complaint advising them of your intention to file a claim for damages and the basis of your claim. After that, the defendant must respond within 21 days. When responding to a claim, the defendant has three options: admit the charges, deny the charges, or ask the court to dismiss the claim.
Preliminary or negotiation stage
Once the defendant responds to the request, the pre-trial process begins. The first part of this process is the discovery process, where both parties’ legal teams share the evidence needed by both parties to prepare their case. At this point, both parties can schedule depositions to gather information and assess the other party’s case.
At the end of the depositions, the defendant can use the evidence to ask the court to dismiss the case. Alternatively, if they feel the case has some weight, they can choose to start engaging the claimant for an out-of-court settlement. Parties often resolve their claims at this stage. “The out-of-court settlement allows both parties to take the guesswork out of the trial,” said Jon Ostroff, a Pennsylvania-based personal injury attorney.
If the parties agree in the pre-trial phase, the defendant compensates the plaintiff and signs the release forms. If they cannot agree, the case goes to trial, where the judge or jury returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty based on the available evidence.
If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will decide the amount of compensation payable to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff signs a release document upon settlement.