7 Steps in the Personal Injury Claim Process
Chances are you’ve heard of a family member, friend, or friend of a friend hiring an attorney before to handle their injury case.
But even so, vital questions probably remain unanswered: What exactly is a personal injury claim? How much money can you reasonably expect? What’s the lawyer doing behind the scenes on your behalf?
It’s very common to feel left in the dark on aspects of the claims process that directly impact you and your family. After years of strictly handling injury cases across Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and DC, our legal team can speak plainly about what happens behind the scenes and provide realistic expectations.
Here’s everything you need about the personal injury claim process.
Step 1: Seeking Medical Attention for Your Injuries
If you get injured, your first step should be to get a full medical checkup. Get treatment for all your symptoms, even minor ones. This ensures you get the care you need. Complete medical records also provide solid proof of both the short and long-term effects of the injuries.
Make sure to get copies of your medical documents and all bills for accident-related care. The itemized costs of doctor visits, hospital stays, medication, equipment, therapy, etc., show how much money the injury is costing you. This evidence can boost settlement amounts down the road.
Pro Tip: If you wait too long for medical care, it can hurt your case. The other side may argue your injuries aren’t from their actions. Don’t lose your advantage over small delays.
Step 2: Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury case involves complex legal rules most people find confusing. Handling a claim alone can feel overwhelming. That’s why many people hire a personal injury lawyer to assist them in seeking compensation.
The lawyer takes over challenging tasks like submitting court documents, collecting evidence to prove your case, and negotiating with insurance providers. This allows you, as the client, to focus on recovering from your injuries.
Another benefit of legal counsel is that most lawyers work on contingency contracts. This means you only pay if they successfully settle or obtain a court award in your favor. Otherwise, representation costs nothing upfront.
Step 3: Investigation and Demand Letter
Once retained, your personal injury lawyer will launch into action, investigating your case. This often includes:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Examining police/EMS reports
- Reviewing medical records
- Analyzing insurance policies
- Studying the causes of the accident/incident
Building this foundation gives them a solid case overview and insights into negligence.
Next is a crucial step – calculating damages to list in the initial demand letter. The lawyer tallies all losses up to that point, plus what future costs might unfold from medical needs or lost wages.
They determine a full dollar amount that compensates the victim both for what already happened and potential long-term impacts still emerging.
With the damage totals and proof of fault clear, lawyers send formal demand letters to negligent parties and their insurance providers, kicking off the settlement negotiation process.
Step 4: Entering Settlement Negotiations
The key part of many personal injury cases happens through negotiation between the legal teams. Lawyers negotiate potential settlement amounts to cover their client’s damages, weighing medical outlooks, case merits, and typical jury awards.
Defendants (typically the at-fault’s insurance company) usually counter with lower offers to save costs. Our lawyers reject proposals that seem insufficient based on case evidence. Through ongoing back-and-forth, negotiations often reach fair settlement amounts.
Step 5: Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If settlement talks fail, the case moves to formal litigation. Lawyers file complaints detailing what happened, the losses incurred, and who was at fault. Defendants submit response answers. The court sets the schedule.
Next is the discovery phase, where lawyers gather related evidence by requesting documents, interviewing witnesses, and more. This information exchange aims to reveal all relevant case facts and proof.
Depending on the case’s complexity, preparing for trial can take months. Throughout this process, our lawyers analyze details, seeking opportunities to resolve the case before an actual trial becomes necessary.
Step 6: Going to Trial
If no settlement agreement can be reached, the personal injury case will go to a full trial. There, lawyers present arguments and evidence to a judge and jury seeking a favorable, legally binding verdict.
During trials, attorneys aim to shape convincing narratives and influence outcomes for clients. Jurors gauge witness believability, examine facts themselves, and review the proof to determine if solid negligence caused the injuries.
Succeeding in court relies on flexibility, well-timed motions, and knowing what evidence impacts people most. Our legal team excels at courtroom advocacy thanks to extensive trial experience over many years.
Step 7: Receiving the Verdict Award
After hearing both sides, the jury privately deliberates and then publicly announces if the defendant must pay damages.
There are rules on compensatory damages, which cover costs already incurred, versus additional punitive damages, which are meant to punish gross negligence. Judges can adjust the final award amounts for both types of damages, higher or lower, based on applicable legal guidelines.
If the jury says the victim deserves compensation, they usually receive payment per the verdict. Most jury decisions hold up without appeals or reversals. So, victims tend to collect the full amounts awarded. Our lawyers advise clients throughout the process until they get a complete resolution.
Getting Support During Your Personal Injury Claim
Personal injury cases can be complicated with many steps. An experienced lawyer prevents issues and gets you the best outcome.
If you or a loved one suffered harm from someone’s negligence, take action now. Evidence can disappear, laws change, memories fade – don’t risk losing compensation.
Our legal team has years of experience helping injury victims nationwide. Call today for a free consultation. Our priority is getting you the compensation and care you deserve.