In a personal injury case, you must file paperwork, serve the defendant with it, and gather evidence to present to a jury. You must demonstrate that you were hurt, that the Defendant was at fault, and that their carelessness resulted in your injuries (your “damages”).
The next step is to obtain medical treatment, collect invoices and receipts for continued treatments, get estimates for damage to property or vehicles, and document lost income.
The Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a legal provision that limits how long after an event you may bring a lawsuit. It ensures that civil and criminal proceedings are quickly settled and gives defendants the assurance that they won’t be faced with an old claim.
Each state will have a different statute of limitations, although most fall within a three-year time frame. There may be certain exceptions, such as car insurance claim against another driver when a case is tolled because the victim was a child or had a mental disability. In rare circumstances, such as with a claim involving a pharmaceutical product or hazardous exposure, the statute of limitations may be extended if you can demonstrate that you reasonably postponed learning the connection between an injury and its source.
Statutes of limitations also exist to protect defendants from unfair legal action. After a significant amount of time, eyewitness testimony may fade or disappear, and defendants might be deprived of crucial evidence to help them defend their position.
Preparing Your Claim
It is important to document everything about your injury. This includes medical treatments, resulting injuries, and how they have affected your daily life. It is also beneficial to speak with an experienced attorney specializing in personal injury for a full breakdown of the process. Learn more about claims in this article,
In most cases, your injury claim begins with filing a complaint with the court and is served to the at-fault party (who becomes the Defendant). Your Complaint will identify your claims, including the mechanism of your injuries, the extent of your damages, and why the Defendant should be held liable under the law.
A personal injury case may settle out of court or proceed to trial. Your attorney will draft a demand letter to be sent to the Defendant if you and the at-fault party are unable to come to an agreement on a settlement amount. Up until a deal is made or the case is tried, negotiations will continue.
Filing Your Claim
You may be eligible to recover monetary compensation depending on the extent of your injuries and their financial impact. This claim for damages could include past, present, or future medical costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Your attorney will prepare a formal document identifying your claims and the amount you seek in compensation. This is called a Demand Package and is submitted to the person or entity responsible for your accident, along with supporting documentation like invoices, receipts, estimates, last year’s W-2, and pay stubs.
The Defendant will respond to the Complaint by admitting or denying your allegations and asserting defenses. The litigation process continues with discovery, which involves exchanging information through written questions (interrogatories) and depositions. Your attorney will now negotiate with the Defendant’s insurance carrier. Unfortunately, this can often be an exhausting process that results in back-and-forth offers until a settlement is reached or your case goes to trial.
Once your case is ready for trial, your attorney will prepare you and review the evidence to ensure that we make a strong argument to maximize your award. This stage includes a jury selection process, in which potential jurors are asked questions to determine their suitability for the case.
During your trial, your lawyer will present your side of the story to the judge or jury using the evidence gathered during the case and testimony from witnesses. The party who injured you (the Defendant) will then put on their defense and argue why they should not be held liable for your injuries and damages.
Adjusters and juries consider several factors in their decisions, including the actual financial losses you have suffered, such as past and future medical care and lost earnings, as well as non-monetary losses like pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can elicit sympathy from a jury to ensure you receive the full amount of your award.