Personal injury cases affect an estimated 39.5 million Americans every year, with these cases making up about 10% of all civil court cases. It could be a workplace accident or car crash that leaves you injured, with medical and hospital bills, time off work, pain and suffering, etc. If negligence or carelessness were involved in how you were injured, you can file a legal complaint to ask for compensation.
While you have the right to file a claim, that doesn’t mean that the legal process and litigation are necessarily easy to understand. That’s why we’ve included a quick overview of litigation here, along with the key steps that could be part of your personal injury case.
What Does Litigation Mean?
Litigation refers to the legal process of taking action against another individual or entity to enforce a particular right or claim. It could be a lawsuit or a dispute. The litigation rules vary depending on whether it’s a civil or federal court case.
What Are the Key Steps for Personal Injury Litigation?
The rules of Civil Procedure require that the parties involved in the litigation follow a series of steps to resolve the issue. The process is straightforward, with the unfolding of actions that lead to either a settlement or trial. Here are the main steps.
Focus on Yourself First
Even if you know that negligence was involved in your injury, you still need to focus on taking care of your own medical needs first. Throughout the process, it’s important to maintain medical records while keeping receipts and notes of what you go through.
During this step, you gather all your medical records, witnesses, photos, and other evidence from the scene of the accident. All of this evidence will come in handy later on in the process if or when the case goes through the Discovery and Deposition, that evidence will come into consideration, but it will also be used at trial if the case progresses that far.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced personal injury lawyer will consult with you and help you understand how the process will proceed. Only about four or five percent of all personal injury cases go to trial but having an attorney as part of your team ensures that you have the best possible chance to receive compensation based on your personal injury claim.
Your Lawyer Will Investigate Your Claim
Your personal injury lawyer investigates your claim, based on your medical records, photos, police records (if applicable), receipts, and other evidence that you’re able to offer. Your attorney may explore additional avenues of inquiry if needed.
Your Lawyer Will Negotiate
Based on the evidence, the lawyer will move forward with reaching out to the other party to negotiate on your behalf. Based on the outcome of the negotiations, your attorney will either ensure that the settlement money is properly processed and distributed or move on with the next step in the litigation process.
Your Lawyer Files the Lawsuit
Up until this point, you haven’t filed a lawsuit, and it doesn’t mean that a settlement won’t happen. When your lawyer files the lawsuit, he/she will prepare and file a legal complaint or petition to request compensation for the injuries. The lawsuit will detail the evidence in the case, as well as why the defendant is responsible.
Deposition and Discovery Take Place
The lawyers involved in the case gather evidence, witness statements, and facts related to the personal injury accident. Both attorneys try to prove who is responsible for the accident. While a settlement may take place during this time, the court could also make a summary judgement.
The Personal Injury Case Goes to Trial
If the facts of the case are in question or if the evidence is unclear, the physical injury case could go to trial. When the case goes to trial, the attorneys will present the facts in the case and argue who the responsible party is for the accident.
Next Step: Schedule a Free Evaluation with Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, PC
At Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, PC, we look forward to building a relationship with you. Our goal is to work with you to help you understand the legal process. If it turns out that a Personal injury lawsuit is the best option to address your injury or accident, we’ll fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our team at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, PC is unique because we have the expertise you need to best represent your best interests in a personal injury case, whether you’re seeking damages for a negligent driver or manufacturing defects.