Following an injury due to the negligence of someone else, it’s common to seek the compensation that you deserve. However, this is usually easier said than done. As to many, the personal injury lawsuit process can be overwhelming, to say the least. This feeling is often caused by a “fear of the unknown,” in the sense that many of our clients don’t know what to expect when initially filing a personal injury lawsuit.
A personal injury case has many contributing factors and needs a lot of work and preparation to succeed. Working with an experienced Memphis personal injury attorney will help ensure the best possible outcome for your case. An experienced attorney will be able to help you pursue the compensation you deserve, give you a complete overview of what to expect, and give a crystal clear action plan as to what steps to take next.
Knowing how the process of a personal injury case works will help make the process less stressful and allow you to focus solely on healing.
To pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, you must first choose a personal injury attorney to hire. Many times, people are under the impression that just merely working with an attorney will be enough for them to win their case and receive the settlement they sought out. But the truth is, the success of your lawsuit depends entirely on the attorney you hire, along with how knowledgeable and experienced they are with your type of case.
The first time you meet with an attorney is known as your “initial consultation.” During this time, you will meet with the firm and will be able to ask any questions you may have about your accident, or how the firm works. Be sure to bring any information related to your accident with you, as this will allow the attorney to get the best understanding of what happened and how they can help.
In the personal injury world, these consultations are often free. This is a great perk, as it allows you to get a feel for your potential attorney and puts no pressure on you to stay with them if you don’t feel like they’re well-suited to handle your case. If you do decide this is the right attorney for you, they will often ask you for authorization to access private data such as medical records, insurance coverage, and may ask for any statements (both written or recorded) that you may have made about your injuries. This is a completely standard process that any experienced attorney should have in place.
Once an attorney has been found, you want to file your claim with the court. This is something that your attorney will (as long as you’ve found the proper one) do for you. You will be the plaintiff, and the party you intend to file against will be known as the defendant. This document will state things such as:
- The nature of your accident
- Your injuries
- The legal reasons you’re holding the defendant liable
- The damages you are pursuing
Following this, the defendant will then have to file an answer to the filed complaint.
Once both sides have filed and served these documents, the case will then begin discovery, which is the evidence-exchanging process. During this time, your attorney will send the defendant questions to build the case, along with submitting a request for documents needed. The goal of this process is to discover the facts of an accident, to help the court come to a solution.
During this time, attorneys of both sides work to create a set of rules and guidelines for litigation. It’s not uncommon for the claim to come to an end during this time, meaning it’s over without having to go to litigation.
As earlier stated, many cases end before going to trial. It’s in the defendant's best interest, financially, to offer a settlement to avoid the time and cost of a court hearing. While this seems like a timesaver, it is only worth settling your case early if you are offered a proper payout.
Insurance companies often try to settle cases for the lowest amount possible, and it is important not to let them take advantage of you. This is where working with an experienced personal injury attorney will be crucial for your case—as they will help ensure the proper settlement is reached.
If there has still been no settlement reached in the prior steps, the injury claim will go to trial. In most cases, the jury will decide whether or not the defendant is liable. If yes, the jury will then work to determine the amount of damages.
While the majority of cases are settled before litigation, you want to ensure you have a staunch team of attorneys on your side in the event that you do have to go to trial.
After reaching a settlement, your attorney will then work with the required parties to collect and distribute your winnings. At this time, the attorney will also take the percentage they charge as a contingency fee.
This is typically the end of the personal injury lawsuit unless the defendant decides to appeal the case. Which means that they are asking for a higher court to ensure there were no errors at the prior trial.
Getting injured due to the negligence of another person is something that deserves compensation. Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. Work with an experienced Memphis personal injury attorney to ensure your rights and well-being are protected.
Call us today at (901) 295-0100 to schedule your free case evaluation.