The stress and misery of an accident-related injury can make victims feel confused. Focusing on healing from your injuries is important, but taking action against the careless driver should not be delayed too long. Personal injury claims need time to process so the sooner you get the case started, the sooner it will all be over with. It often helps when accident victims can visualize the process before them, so read on and find out how to climb the personal injury ladder toward financial compensation.
Make the decision to get legal help – Unless your accident falls into the category of fender benders, you will need legal representation. For accidents that involve injuries in which you had to be hospitalized and where you missed many days of work, you would be wise to seek legal help. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, and it might be impossible to get them to pay you the full amount you are owed. For example, most insurance policies do not pay anything for lost wages and pain and suffering, two very valuable forms of compensation.
Speak with a personal injury attorney – In most cases, your first visit is free. Your attorney will evaluate your case based on the evidence you have and can advise on what steps you should take. If your case is not worth much money, they may advise you to file a claim with the insurance company. If your case is worth thousands of dollars, however, you will need more legal help and support to prove your case. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means you'll owe no money for your legal fees unless you win your case.
Let the other side know that you mean business – Your attorney will likely fire the first warning shot by sending the other side a demand letter. This letter states your case and demands a certain sum of money. Since taking a case to trial can be expensive and time-consuming, a settlement offer could help provide you with adequate compensation and put an end to the claim immediately. It should be noted that almost all personal injury cases are resolved outside of the courtroom in this manner.
Sue the other side – If a settlement is not possible, your attorney will file a lawsuit against the other driver (actually, their insurance company). This prompts the beginning of the trial preparation period, which can go for several months depending on the court calendar. Trial preparation consists of depositions, interrogatories, and more.
Finally, your day in court arrives – The case begins with the jury selection, followed by opening statements from both sides. The main event consists of the presentation of evidence and testimony, with the jury deliberating before giving a verdict.
Collect your compensation – If you win, the other side has only a few weeks to pay you your court judgment.
To learn more, speak to personal injury attorneys like Nicholas B. Hall - Personal Injury Lawyer.