If you were injured in an automobile accident, a slip and fall or were the victim of medical malpractice, then you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. However, before you can collect any money, you will need to hire a personal injury attorney to file a claim against the responsible party and/or their insurance company. There are several stages to a successful personal injury claim, which are described below.
- Attorney Consultation
Before a claim is filed, the injured party will meet with a personal injury attorney to determine if they have a viable case. An ECG Legal personal injury attorney will discuss which laws may apply in the case and he or she will explain the next steps they will take to help the plaintiff recover compensation for their injuries.
- Filing the Claim
Once the plaintiff hires an attorney, the proper paperwork will be prepared for filing. The paperwork usually includes a complaint outlining the plaintiff’s case against the defendant, a summons which indicates the location where the case is argued and it also informs the defendant of the suit that’s been filed against him or her.
- Case Discovery
During this fact-finding stage, both sides of the case will exchange information regarding what happened that lead them to go to court. While most information can be shared, there is “privileged” information the opposing side will not be privy to. The purpose of discovery is to determine the facts of the case.
- Pre-Trial Motions
Both the defendant’s and plaintiff’s attorneys may file motions which require judgments to be made. Many of the motions can put an end to the case before it goes to court, which includes motions to dismiss, a summary judgment or motion of default judgment. Other judgments may set the rules for how the case is to be handled in court.
- Negotiating Settlements
Either side may offer to settle the case out of court, which would prevent the need for continuing to trial. If the plaintiff has a solid case, the defendant will usually offer a settlement amount. However, the plaintiff’s attorney can reject the settlement if they feel they can get their client more money.
- Proceed to Trial
If the pre-trial motions or judgments were not successful in dismissing the case, then it will go to trial. The trial may be decided by only a judge or it could be a jury trial. Both sides will present their evidence, call experts to the stand and try to win the case for their clients.
- Judgment of the Court
The last stage of a personal injury case involves finding out who won it. If the plaintiff has won, they will usually receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages for their injuries. If the defendant wins, the plaintiff can appeal to have the case retried. The defendant can also appeal if they lose the case.
During each of these steps, your attorney should keep you informed so you know what to expect during each phase.
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Author Bio: Jerry Wells holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science, who blogs about politics, environment, law and business management during his free time.