When you or a loved one is seriously injured, it can be difficult to know what the future holds. Knowing the steps of filing a personal injury claim can give accident victims and their families peace of mind, as well as help them prepare for settlement negotiations with the help of an injury lawyer.
While every personal injury claim is unique, most follow the steps we’ve outlined below. With the help of James H. Brown and Associates’ experienced team, accident victims and their families can protect their rights and secure the compensation they need to move forward after a serious injury.
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Personal injury claims start with someone being injured due to the actions of a third party.
The most important thing after sustaining an injury is to seek medical attention. Ensure that your doctor thoroughly documents your injuries, their symptoms, and other results of your injury. Additionally, ensure that you or a loved one file a police report to ensure that the accident leading to your injuries is documented completely; this information will be vital during the “investigation” phase of your claim.
Speaking with an Injury Lawyer
After an injury, the next step you should take is speaking with an injury lawyer to get sound legal advice. A good injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case, if it’s worth retaining an injury lawyer, what types of evidence you will need to secure a settlement, and more.
James H. Brown and Associates proudly offers free, no-obligation consultations to help you get started right away.
Once you’ve retained an injury lawyer, they will begin investigating your case. Their goal is to gather information that proves your injuries and damages were caused directly by the accident, and that the responsible party (and their insurance) owe you compensation.
Every accident is different, and every case will require different types of evidence. However, some common types of information gathered include:
- Pre- and post-accident medical records.
- Police reports.
- Documentation related to missed work, loss of income, etc
- Evidence of how your injuries have impacted your life.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Next, your injury lawyer will begin negotiations with the other party’s insurance company and begin the process of securing your settlement. This initial negotiation and discussion can largely influence the timeline for your case.
Negotiating with an insurance company can be extremely challenging. Remember: their goal is to make a profit, not ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. An injury lawyer is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected during settlement negotiations, and that you receive complete, fair compensation for your injuries.
Pre-Trial Questioning and Mediation
Throughout settlement negotiations, your injury lawyer will be preparing to go to trial if necessary; if they stall, they’ll be ready to take the next steps right away. This includes filing documentation with the Courts and setting up Questioning. Here, the plaintiff may be questioned and asked a series of questions to assess credibility, the strength of the case, and entitlement to damages in an attempt to reach a settlement before trial.
Additionally, the pre-trial phase may also include mediation or a Judicial Settlement Conference to attempt to settle out of court. Your injury lawyer will work with the insurance adjuster/other lawyer (as well as a neutral third party or a judge) to attempt to negotiate a settlement.
Injury cases only go to trial when all other options have failed. Both sides will identify and question witnesses and explain their side of the case to persuade the judge and/or jury into believing their version of events. The judge and jury will have the final say on damages awarded.
If your injury case makes it this far, it’s critical that you have an injury lawyer with trial experience on your side. Because so few cases actually go to trial, not every injury lawyer has this experience. James H. Brown and Associates’ team includes multiple lawyers with a proven record of success taking accident injury claims to court.