What are the Steps Involved in a Personal Injury Case?Posted In: Personal Injury
A personal injury case goes through standard steps that evaluate your case along the way. Here are the steps that ensure your personal injury claim goes smoothly:
The first thing you should do if you’re injured is see a lawyer like us for a free consultation. Here, you’ll answer a set of questions designed to see what kind of case you might have, the extent of your injuries, and so on.
You should ask the attorney the best way to proceed, what kinds of compensation you might receive and how the attorney works, fee wise. For example, we work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay us anything unless we win you some kind of compensation for your damages. Also, ask any other questions you have.
Filing Court Documents
If we or another lawyer handles your case, that lawyer will file and serve a complaint in court with all the required documentation against the defendant, who is the person(s) who caused the damages. You are known as the plaintiff. The complaint will list the scope of your accident and injuries, the legal basis for holding the defendant liable and the types of damages you’re seeking. The defendant must file an answer to the complaint.
After this, the parties will formally exchange evidence in this process.
During discovery, your lawyer will send questions, or “interrogatories,” to the defendant and may also ask for documents. The defendant’s attorneys will do the same. Both sides might also take depositions, or sworn statements, to help clarify their cases.
Finally, your lawyer might consult with medical experts or accident reconstruction experts to help your lawyer understand your case more fully and provide reports, which will be useful in negotiations and should the case go to trial. In the latter scenario, these experts can testify on your behalf.
Pretrial Motions and Hearings
These can be used to both seek evidence from the other side or to file motions to try to resolve the case before it goes to trial.
The defense attorney might try to file a motion to dismiss all or part of the claim due to lack of evidence or jurisdiction. Your lawyer, on the other hand, could file an argument for a summary judgment arguing that all the charges in the case are undisputed and a judgment should be awarded right away.
Usually, the attorneys for both sides want to avoid a trial, so they try to reach a settlement before one. Here, the defendant will agree to pay for damages and you, the plaintiff, will release the defendant from liability.
Negotiations start with the plaintiff making a demand for compensation, and the defendant making a counter-offer. This can happen at any time in the process, including before suit is filed. Often, the lawyers bring in a mediator to help the two reach a mutually agreeable sum. If this can happen, the personal injury case ends here. Sometimes, however, this is impossible.
When a settlement negotiation fails, the personal injury case goes to trial. Usually, this involves two stages. First, a jury hears the case and decides if the defendant is liable; if so, it determines the amount of compensation you’ll receive.
When your personal injury case goes to trial, you’ll really want an experienced lawyer on your side, such as one of us. These cases are very complex and we know how to negotiate them in your favor. We’ve been doing it successfully — and compassionately — for many, many years.
Collecting Your Judgment or Settlement
Once you’ve reached the settlement you deserve and are satisfied with or the court enters a judgment in your favor, your lawyer will proceed with collecting and distributing the funds, providing you with what you’re owed, in as timely a manner as possible.
Post-Trial Motions and Appeals
Sometimes, when the court rules in your favor, the defendant might file a post-trial motion seeking to set aside the judgment or reduce the amount of damages awarded.
The defendant could also file an appeal with the Massachusetts Court of Appeals to see if any errors happened during the original trial.
Should either of these occur, your Eden Rafferty lawyer will be by your side, using our expertise to best prepare to fight these actions. We care about you and your personal injury case and will do everything we can to keep you from losing what you deserve.
Important Factors in Personal Injury Lawsuit Verdicts
Lawsuits can be held up for various reasons. Some factors that can cause these include:
- How fault is determined.
- How the level of harm is evaluated.
- The type(s) of personal injury the person suffering from.
The more complex each of these are, the longer the cases take to resolve.
Again, these factors make it important to seek an experienced personal injury attorney like one of us.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Race
As you can see, personal injury lawsuits are very complex and have many hurdles to navigate. We’re here for you every jump of the way, making sure you don’t trip over any and successfully run the lawsuit course.
Our personal investment in each of our clients provides compassion along with the expertise you’ll not find with any other law firm dealing with personal injury cases. We take your claim like it were our own, seeking the most compensation we can legally obtain for you and fighting for that amount the entire time, whether we settle out of court or go to trial.
Consult with us at Eden Rafferty and see how we’re different. We know you’ll want to work with us once you do.