Getting into an accident can be a devastating experience. In addition to enduring the physical and emotional hardship, you may also find yourself dealing with medical expenses, lost wages, and an unclear path ahead. The good news is you don’t have to face this situation alone.
With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can recover compensation for the damages you have incurred. The following are the steps you’ll need to take to file a claim:
Step 1: Gather Evidence
The first step in any personal injury claim is to gather as much evidence as possible. This evidence can include photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, medical records, and any other information that may be relevant to your case. Your lawyer will use this evidence to build a strong case and prove the other party’s negligence.
Step 2: Contact a Lawyer
Once you have gathered all the evidence you can, it’s time to contact a personal injury lawyer. They will review your case and let you know if they think you have a viable claim. They can also help you gather additional evidence.
Step 3: File an Insurance Claim
The next step is to notify the insurance company that you intend to file an insurance claim. Your lawyer will help you fill out the appropriate forms and send them a demand letter outlining your compensation requests.
After the insurance company receives your demand letter, they will review it and assess the compensation requested. They can either accept the offer or propose a counteroffer. In this next stage, negotiations typically take place, and a settlement is eventually reached.
Step 4: File a Complaint
If you can’t reach a settlement at this time, you will need to file a lawsuit in civil court. To officially begin the legal process, you must file a complaint with the court. This complaint should contain a detailed account of the incident and the damages you have suffered. You will also need to provide a copy of the complaint to the other party, who will then have a chance to respond.
Step 5: Discovery
In case a settlement can’t be reached, both sides will go through a process called “discovery” to get ready for trial. During this process, each side will gather and exchange evidence and information to support their claim.
This could involve deposing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and issuing subpoenas for documents.
Your personal injury attorney will also prepare you for trial by helping you understand what to expect and coaching you on answering questions effectively and truthfully.
Step 6: Settlement Negotiations
Negotiating a settlement with the defendant is usually ongoing at this point. Your lawyer will again attempt to settle the issue so you don’t have to take the case to trial. If the defendant still refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies liability altogether, you may need to continue the process of taking your case to trial.
Step 7: Going to Trial
If you cannot reach a settlement agreement, you will have to go to trial, where a judge or jury will hear your case and make a decision about whether or not you are entitled to compensation.
Your personal injury lawyer will explain the steps and time involved in pursuing a legal remedy so that you can make an informed decision about the proceeding.
For help with any type of personal injury claim, contact us to schedule a free consultation.