When you suffer a personal injury caused by someone else, you may be entitled to some sort of compensation. To receive this compensation, you will have to make a claim, which in turn, may require you to file a personal injury lawsuit. Some of our clients are confused, or unsure, as to what this means. This article will hopefully eliminate some of that uncertainty.
Stages of a Typical Personal Injury Claim
First, you will meet with a personal injury lawyer, who will evaluate your case and determine whether you even have a case, and can address the likelihood of winning and receiving compensation for your injuries. This first meeting, called an initial consultation, should be free if you are seeing any kind of reputable attorney.
You will need to share the details of your accident with the personal injury lawyer. We can then assess your case to determine whether you are legally entitled to damages (the legal word for compensation) under your state's individual personal injury laws.
If a lawyer agrees to take your case, they will usually do so on a contingency basis. That means you pay no money up front, but the lawyer keeps a percentage of the compensation they get for you from the negligent party that caused your injury.
The claims process then follows. A claim is made on the insurance carrier that insures the person, or company, that hurt you. During that claim process two issues are being evaluated: 1) Who is at fault of the accident; and 2) If they are fault, then there is a discussion surrounding what is the amount, or value, of the damages that came from their actions. As those issues are evaluated, a good lawyer will done everything In their power to resolve your case without ever having to file a lawsuit. However, when that cannot be accomplished reputable lawyer will sit down with you and discuss the options of filing a lawsuit, what that means to you, and what that will entail.
If a lawsuit has to be filed, the lawyer will then draft a complaint, which is the legal term for the papers that are filed with the court to begin a personal injury lawsuit.
Once the complaint is filed, your lawyer and the lawyer for the other party will begin a sometimes lengthy process known as discovery. This is where each side tries to find out as much information as they can about the accident that prompted your lawsuit. This can include asking for your medical records, information from your employer and other relevant information about you. At the same time, your lawyer will ask for information about the party that caused your injury.
As part of discovery, you may be asked by the other side to give a deposition. You will be asked a series of questions by the opposing lawyer. Some of the questions will be about the incident that gave rise to your injury, while others will be about your personal history. Expect to answer questions about any previous injuries or illnesses you have had, as well as your work history and other issues.
After the evidence has been gathered, each side will usually file motions with the court. These can be anything from a request for the court to dismiss the case to merely asking that some evidence be excluded from the trial for various reasons.
Once the court has ruled on the motions, the parties may be required by the court to have at least one session with a court-approved mediator to try to settle the case before trial. Regardless of whether you actually meet with a mediator, your lawyer and the defendant's lawyer will undoubtedly be talking periodically throughout the case to see if they can reach a settlement agreement.
If you fail to settle the case out of court, the court will schedule the case for trial. Because courts are very busy, your trial date could be months, or even years, away. Once the trial begins, there will usually be a jury that decides whether you are entitled to any compensation and, if so, how much.
If you win the case and are awarded compensation, you then have to collect it. If an insurance company is required to make the payment on behalf of the losing party, you may have to sign many documents before the check is cut.
Many personal injury lawyers agree that it is often better to settle a case before trial than to go through this sort of lengthy process. That is a decision you and your lawyer will make together. At Jones Wilson that is precisely the kind of advice and counsel we give to all of our clients. We are always trying to settle their cases, but we are never afraid to litigate and go to trial if necessary.
Have You Been Injured In A Henderson Or Las Vegas Accident?
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident we are here to fight for your rights aggressively. We represent visitors here on vacation and business as well as local residents. Contact us online or call our Henderson office directly at 702.405.6000 to schedule a free initial consultation.