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If you have been seriously injured through someone else’s negligence, it is only fair that you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. In many cases, the only way to go about this is to file a personal injury lawsuit. Many injured victims have never filed a civil lawsuit and have no idea where to begin. The following is an outline of the basic steps of the process.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
- Hire an attorney. This is important, particularly if your injuries are serious.
- Investigate the accident. This can involve:
- Getting a copy of the police report for the accident
- Obtaining medical records and identifying the extent of the injuries and additional care and treatment recommendations by medical professionals
- Determining what insurance coverage the client has and the policy limits
- Preparing an attorney-client letter of retention
- Ensure that the patient gets all the care and treatment that was recommended by medical professionals who assessed the injuries.
- Determine the insurance carried by the at-fault party and the policy limits.
- Conduct pre-lawsuit negotiations. The insurance adjuster is given the facts in an effort to resolve the case fairly and quickly. In some cases, the adjuster will make a fair settlement offer at this point. If client and attorney agree that the offer is fair, it can be accepted. When that occurs, the case is concluded.
- File the lawsuit if the insurance company failed to make a fair settlement offer.
- Commence discovery. This involves taking depositions, submitting interrogatories, developing witness lists, and providing information as required by law to opposing counsel.
- Submit the case for evaluation by a panel charged with determining the value of the claim. If that amount is acceptable to the client, the case is resolved at this point, which happens in about 50% of the cases. If not, the case goes to trial.
- Prepare for trial. The case is prepared with all the relevant facts for presentation to a jury. Facts include the degree and long-term consequences of the injuries, facts surrounding the negligence of the party at fault, and all other relevant data.
- The case goes to trial and is presented to the jury. The jury reaches a verdict, and a settlement is awarded to the client.
Choosing a Lawyer to Represent You
In a personal injury claim, the attorney you choose to represent you can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Goodman Acker personal injury lawyers are a great example of a firm that takes pride in providing the best possible legal services available.