If you are the victim of another’s reckless or careless actions and are injured, you have more important things to focus on, such as your recovery, than your potential lawsuit. However, it is important to know what the process of a personal injury case may look like. Below is a step-by-step look at what stages a personal injury case may include. Remember, each case is different, and your case may not follow each step exactly.
- Meet with an Attorney. You can’t begin your personal injury case without first contacting an attorney. Trying to handle your personal injury case on your own may be to your determent. There is no fee for consulting an experienced injury attorney at McDivitt Law Firm. For more information, check out our 7 Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney.
- File a Case. Once you hire an attorney, filing the case may be the next step. However, it may help to know that not all cases will require you to go to court. Your case may be settled with your insurance company prior to that. However, if your case requires a lawsuit, filing a case will be the next step. Your lawyer will begin by filing a Complaint with the appropriate court.
- Discovery (or Fact-Finding). After a case is filed, each side will want to gather information and establish the facts of their case. The formal process is called discovery and will include the filing of additional pleadings.
- Resolution Pre-Trial. Many cases may resolve prior to trial through motions filed to the court, such as a Motion to Dismiss. When this occurs the case has come to a resolution without trial. This is different than agreeing to a settlement as these motions are a final decision made by the court.
- Many cases resolve through settlement negotiations without going to trial. This may require parties to go to mediation to reach a settlement if the parties are unable to negotiate a settlement prior to court proceedings.
- If the parties do not reach an agreement regarding the case it will proceed to trial. You could possibly have what is called a bench trial, where the judge decides, or a jury trial where the jury makes a decision. Depending on the facts of your case a trial could be a very lengthy process.
- Judgement and Collection. Even when you win a trial, that doesn’t mean your case has concluded. Sometimes it is difficult collecting the judgment that was rendered by the court. This may require additional work by your attorney to ensure all monetary judgments are collected for you.
- Both parties have the option to appeal a final decision if they disagree with the outcome. If this occurs, this will require additional pleadings to be filed and can be a very lengthy process waiting for the court to decide to hear the matter. Appeals often require an oral argument to be made to the court as well. Your attorney would handle all aspects of this step.
While this may seem daunting, that is what an experienced personal injury attorney is here to do—assist you at every step along the way. Having an attorney working on your behalf almost always ensures that you will receive more compensation for your injuries and lost wages.
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