What should you do if you have been injured due to the negligence of someone else?
First and foremost, you need to make sure that you are handling your injuries properly and getting the medical care you need. Secondly, you need to start thinking about your legal rights and how to obtain a justifiable recovery for the costs and damages you have incurred.
But what goes into a personal injury lawsuit? What is the process like to get started? What should you be thinking about? Below is a brief outline of how a typical personal injury lawsuit would proceed. Each case is different, and how it will move forward will depend on the specifics of an individual claim.
The first steps of a lawsuit are rather straightforward. You need to reach out and tell your story, free of charge, to an experienced personal injury attorney. If you jointly decide to move forward, your attorney will most likely contact the other party’s representatives to alert them to his or her involvement. If no fair settlement seems plausible, then your attorney will file the lawsuit with the proper court, and the defendant or defendants will be served with notice that an action has been commenced.
After the lawsuit has been filed, court rules govern how discovery should proceed. Discovery is basically the step within a lawsuit whereby all potentially relevant information is gathered, including police reports of the incident, insurance records, information regarding the parties and almost any other sort of information that could aid in coming to a solution to the matter at hand. Discovery is the time to collect all evidence that may ultimately be used at trial.
Although many courts technically see this part of the process as discovery, this is often the stage of a lawsuit where the parties begin to work with each other in an effort to settle the matter. This aspect of the proceedings could also involve depositions, which typically occur after the attorneys have had a chance to review the preliminary information. Assuming no settlement is reached during depositions or any pre-trial conferences, the case proceeds into trial.
Your attorney will work with you to prepare for a trial, should the case get to that point. These trials can be very complicated, and can often involve expert witnesses, controversial evidence and strong arguments made to the jury.