The path to fair compensation can be a long and stressful one, especially when you are suffering from injuries caused by another's negligence. It may be in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney to relieve you of some of your burden during this time and to give you the support and help you need to attain success with your claim. You should understand that be awarded compensation for your accident, your claim must proceed through several steps. Knowing something about the personal injury process in advance could ease your mind and reduce some of the confusion, so read on to learn more about the 7 steps toward personal injury success.
1. The Initial Meeting with Your Attorney
Since a lot of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, you will learn a great deal about your chances for success at your first meeting. Be prepared for your first meeting by bringing important documents, such as a copy of the police or accident report, medical expense and insurance information. If your attorney feels that you have a legitimate case and agrees to represent you, you will sign an agreement that details the financial arrangements for fees.
2. The Suit is Filed
The official court filing puts the other side (and their insurance company, if applicable) on notice, since they will be sent a copy. The suit will detail allegations of fault, the reasoning for those allegations and how much you are asking for in compensation.
You might consider the deposition to be a mini-trial, with all concerned parties being questioned under oath about the details of the case. This process is called discovery, since it allows both sides to more fully understand and predict the outcome of a court case. Depositions are not only a requirement, but can prove to be valuable, since many depositions are followed by a settlement offer once the other party learns about the evidence they will be facing in court.
Motion to Dismiss: Filed by the defendants (usually the insurance company for the other side) at the start of the trial. This routine filing allows the defendants to ask the judge to "throw the case out" due to lack of merit, or other reasons. Your attorney can gain important information to assist in your case by viewing what may become the defendant's case.
Motions for Summary Judgment: Filed by your attorney (the plaintiff), this motion seeks an accelerated ruling based on the evidence already submitted in court.
5. Settlement Offers
The offer to end the case now for a specified dollar amount could occur at any time, and a huge 95% of all personal injury cases get settled prior to beginning trial.
6. The Trial
Ruled over by a judge with events proceeding through opening statements, testimony, closing statements and finally a verdict.
Normally a check will be issued to you within a few weeks if your case was successful, unless an appeal is filed.
Talk to your personal injury attorney for information about how these cases are handled in your local area.Share