The personal injury claims process can be quick, or it can take fairly long depending on the situation. For example, something like a car accident is typically handled quickly, because there isn’t much discovery needed. But if it’s something that happens at work or involves medical malpractice, the proceedings can take a little longer. The following list will highlight the steps associated with personal injury claims.
Consulting An Attorney
The first thing an individual should do in terms of starting a personal injury claim is to contact an attorney. In this consultation the attorney or lawyer will listen to the claim and ask questions if more information is needed. He or she should be able to outline whether the claim is valid and if the process should be taken to the next step.
Filing Court Papers
The next step is to file the necessary court papers. This is something an attorney will explain step by step, because there might be a counterclaim involved. Nevertheless, filing papers mean the claim has been made official and a court date will be set.
If there is one thing the court won’t like, it’s surprises. When the paperwork is done and the claim is official, time is given to find as much information as possible from both sides. The person making the claim has to provide a sworn statement, as well as possible eyewitnesses and the defendant. Any documents that are relevant to the case have to be made available to both parties, in addition to all the gathered information.
Motions are used to resolve the case before going to trail. There are many different kinds and will be explained by the attorney. But to give an example of a motion, the defendant’s attorney could file a motion to dismiss. This can be based on many things, but the aim is to get the case thrown out.
At this point in time attorneys from both sides will probably try to settle the matter outside of the courtroom. In other words, the defendant might make an offer to the person making the claim, and if accepted the case is pretty much settled.
However, if a settlement can’t be reached the case will continue to go to trail, leaving the final decision to a judge and possible jury.
If the motions to dismiss have failed, the evidence stood strong at summary judgment and no settlement could be reached between the two parties, the case will be presented in court. Depending on the situation it will either be fought in front of a jury or just a judge.
This is the last part of the personal injury claims process, where the judge or jury will decide whether the defendant should be held responsible. If they find in favor of the plaintiff then money damages are awarded. However, the defendant has the right to appeal the judgment, which means the case will be reviewed again by a different judge and jury.