Personal injury lawsuits are very common, but few people know how they work. Most people don’t expect to be involved in an accident, and when it happens, it can be difficult to understand what needs to be done first. You must act as soon as possible so that you can find a great team and start building your case, however. Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to take when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
It all starts with sitting down with a lawyer, also known as a consultation. Firms like Richard Harris Law will usually provide the first interview free of charge and will start looking at the facts of the case. They will want to know about the facts surrounding the accident and how serious your injuries are. They will then start talking about your options, whether you have a case, and what the fees will be as well. Note that most work on contingency, meaning that they only get paid if you win, so that would be the right time to speak about percentages. Don’t forget to ask them a few questions about their experience and background as well.
Once you decide to go through with the case, the lawyer will file a complaint and the necessary documents. You will be the plaintiff in the case and the other party will be the defendant. Things like the nature of the accident and injuries, the legal argument for the other party being liable, and the damages you’re seeking will all be included in your complaint.
Discovery is an official exchange of evidence between the two parties. Documents may be asked from the other party, and sworn statements can be made. This is also when your lawyer will look for medical or accident reconstruction experts to help with your case.
Pretrial Hearing and Motions
Attorneys will also often resort to motions to get evidence from the other party. They can also be used by a defendant to negate some or all the other plaintiff’s claims. They may say that your claim is not valid because there isn’t enough evidence. Your lawyer, on the other hand, may file a motion for summary judgment. The motion, in this case, would state that the evidence is irrefutable and that the judge should give immediate relief.
It’s typical for attorneys to try to negotiate a settlement. This can be beneficial to both sides. Some may want the facts to remain private, and you could get quite a bit through a settlement. It will also facilitate the whole process.
If you can’t settle, you will have to go to trial. Both sides will present their cases and you will be cross-examined by the other party. Experts may also be called to testify and provide supporting evidence.
This is the personal injury lawsuit process in a nutshell. It’s not that complex, but you still have to know what to expect, and, more importantly, find a team that has your best interests in mind.