When you are suffering from an injury caused by negligence, getting better and getting your life back to normal is a worthy priority. At some point, however, you may begin to notice the financial ramifications of your accident, and begin to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Just as with the healing process, the personal injury process does not take place overnight; the steps must be taken in order and you must allow the process to play out. Understanding the major points along the way can be very helpful to your peace of mind, so read on to learn more about the personal injury process and the path toward success.
1. Meet with your personal injury attorney for the first time.
The way that most personal injury attorneys earn their fee can serve as an excellent insight into the relative merits of a case. Contingency fee arrangements are based on the attorney winning your case, so if the attorney agrees to accept your case, the case must have the potential to be successful. You can help get your case off to a good start by arriving at your first meeting with some important information for your new attorney, such as:
- Your insurance and the other drivers' insurance information.
- The police or accident report.
- A summary of your medical treatments and expenses, so far.
2. A letter of demand is sent.
Once your attorney has assembled a case, an important piece of correspondence is sent to the opposing side; the demand letter, or letter of demand. This letter contains your case in a nutshell and asks for a certain dollar amount to settle the case out of court. It gives both sides a chance to see the case and determine the merit of going to court, or not. Most cases are actually settled out of court.
3. A lawsuit is filed.
If the demand letter did not garner a fair settlement offer, an official court filing is the next step. The lawsuit expands on the information in the demand letter and puts the other side on notice to prepare a defense against the claims of personal injury.
4. All parties participate in a deposition
The deposition is part of the trial preparation process known as "discovery," and this question and answer session allows both sides to "discover" information about the other side's case by questioning all involved parties. Your attorney will prepare you for questioning, and you should be prepared, since all testimony provided in a deposition can be used in the trial. Just as with a demand letter, a deposition can sometimes prompt a settlement offer once the other side hears the testimony that is given.
5. The trial gets underway.
The judge rules over the testimony and presentation of evidence as each side takes a turn proving, or disproving, the claims set forth in the lawsuit. You can expect opening statements, a variety of motions, postponements, continuances, testimony, closing statements, and finally, a verdict.
6. The judgment is collected.
If your case is successful and the other side doesn't file an appeal, you can expect a check soon after the verdict. Insurance companies are expected to provide the winning judgment money within a certain amount of time, depending on state law.
For more information about the events that make up a personal injury case, speak with your attorney. If it was an accident involving a truck, contact a truck accident attorney.Share