Stages in a Personal Injury Case
Consider this: an ‘accident’ that is probably a few seconds long or even less, but changes the life of the individual involved permanently. Personal injury can refer to bodily harm suffered through an unforeseen or unexpected event
A personal injury case is filed when an individual suffers harm to himself or herself. Legally though, all cases of personal injury differ from each other in terms of the exact circumstances and events that lead to the injury in the first place.
However, every case will still follow a pre-established process. Here are some of the stages that one can expect in a personal injury case.
- Assessing the Extent of Damage
After the incident or accident, the first step is to assess extent of damage suffered. Keep in mind that there is a time limit which may differ between states, from the time of the incident to the time of filing a complaint or lawsuit. Typically, this time limit is 3 months or less.
- Hiring a Lawyer
What is a personal injury lawsuit? Does the incident you have suffered qualify as a personal injury case? How should you go about it? Once you realize you have suffered injury that could have been avoided through the exercising of caution by the people involved, you need a professional opinion to assess it, as well as to guide you through how to proceed further.
- Filing a Complaint
Individuals may represent themselves and also make the decision to file. However, having a professional by your side to file a complaint can make a huge difference. It can strengthen your personal injury case in a manner that you do not suffer more than what you already may have as a result of the accident. Filing a complaint may also involve several trips to the court for submission of papers, etc. and this can eat into you time, particularly if you are working, or also care for children, elderly parents or relatives.
- Managing the Paperwork
The lawsuit itself will start with the filing of the complaint. The complaint itself will include details on the parties involved in the incident, state facts leading to the case, and also outline what the plaintiff (the one seeking damage) would like the defendant (party that caused the accident) to do as compensation for the injury sustained. The paperwork will also involve answers to the claim by the defendants or the party held responsible for the accident.
- The Phase of Discovery, or Investigation into the Incident
Once the case is filed, the incident involved in the lawsuit will be fully examined. Prior to going to trial, the case will be investigated with full disclosure. This disclosure is achieved by means of the process termed as ‘discovery’. A discovery includes producing documents and obtaining information through depositions.
- Motions and Settlements
Not all cases go to trial stage. Some may get resolved before trial. Requests or motions may be made for several situations. These can include motions to dismiss the case based on elements such as lack of jurisdictional powers of the court, or relevant resources such as judges, etc.
A settlement may refer to an agreement made before trial and outside the courtroom where both the involved parties agree to settle the matter based on facts and mutual understanding to avoid going through a lengthy trial.
- Trial and Awarding of Compensation
The case may eventually go to trial and a judgment reached. Opening arguments, testimony by witnesses, closing arguments, etc. all take place before the jury can reach a verdict.
Depending on the trial, compensation awarded may be monetary. However, cases can be appealed and the judgment may be appealed.
Why You Need a Professional
Regardless of the understanding an individual possesses about the law, each case is unique. Laws by themselves can be confusing, but a professional personal injury lawyer can be of immense help through their understanding of the subject.
Learn more about personal injury, taking it to court, or filing a lawsuit. Call us at (855) 254-7841 for immediate assistance if you or a loved one has faced an accident which might actually be a case of personal injury.