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The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

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Accidents happen all the time. Often, it feels as though they occur at random. However, these events tend to be quite traumatic and caused by another person’s negligence. 

When you sustain an injury due to the poor behavior or inaction of another, it may entitle you to reimbursement for your expenses. Too often, accidents leave victims dealing with physical and emotional harm. 

In fact, some victims are never able to return to work or the activities they enjoy. After you seek medical attention, it’s important to seek out a personal injury law firm in your area. While many claims follow a specific process, a lawsuit is not quite as simple. It’s normal for victims to have questions and wonder what the process is like. Below, we take a look at what to expect from a personal injury lawsuit. 

What Cases Fall Under Personal Injury? 

Personal injury is a broad category that covers many different types of cases. However, they typically involve some form of negligence that led to physical or emotional harm to another person. Due to this, civil courts see thousands of victims recover damages in lawsuits each year. 

Some of the more common forms of personal injury claims involve these accidents. 

  • Car accidents 
  • Premises liability or slip and fall cases 
  • Dog bites 
  • Medical malpractice 
  • Product liability 
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents 
  • Work injuries 

How Does the Process Work?

Generally, the personal injury lawsuit process follows a standard flow of required events. While each case is unique, there are certain requirements to meet. When you partner with an attorney, you have someone to navigate the process on your behalf. 

Step 1: Submit a Complaint

In personal injury claims, the goal is to hold the negligent person accountable for their actions. Lawsuits go through multiple steps, and the first of these is to file a complaint. 

This complaint provides the details of the case and identifies both the plaintiff and the defendant. Typically, it describes the actions or inaction of the defendant and highlights the harm caused to the victim. 

When you sign the complaint, your attorney serves it to the other party. In some jurisdictions, the court also requires that you file a summons as well. This document identifies everyone involved and why you intend to sue the defendant. Then, your lawyer locates the opposition and serves them a copy. 

In cases where the liable party is a government agency, you have to submit a notice of claim first. This lists the time and location of the accident as well as an explanation of your injuries. 

Then, the defendant has a limited time to respond to the complaint and summons. 

Step 2: Discovery

The next phase of the process is discovery. This is when both sides investigate the claims and evidence. Usually, this is when depositions take place, wherein the lawyers interview witnesses with a court reporter present. 

Step 3: Mediation

Mediation is the phase in which both parties negotiate to reach a fair settlement. This may be between the attorneys or with everyone present. Often, the defendant and plaintiff both attend mediation. 

There, a third party helps both sides work towards an agreement. Generally, the majority of personal injury lawsuits settle out of court. 

Step 4: Trial

When neither group is satisfied with the negotiations, the case goes to trial. Personal injury trials often have less predictable results. Moreover, it’s more difficult for plaintiffs to reach the ideal outcome. 

Still, your attorney will present the evidence and show that your injuries were the direct result of the other party’s negligence. At the end of the trial, the jury decides whether to grant you compensation and how much. 

Prepare for a Consultation with an Attorney

When you schedule a consultation with an attorney, you have a chance to learn more about your legal options. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to see whether the lawyer is a good fit for you and your case. 

Expect to answer a lot of questions about your case, claim, and the accident itself. In order to provide insight, the lawyer needs a better understanding of the case. 

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