The Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you’ve been injured by someone else, you may be wondering if you have any legal options available to you for compensation. If your injuries are the result of someone else’s reckless, dangerous, or irresponsible actions, then you shouldn’t be left to bear the burden of mounting medical bills, ongoing treatment costs, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, or diminished quality of life.
Thinking about legal entanglements after an injury may be too much for you to handle. You already need to focus on your recovery, and legal battles are just another source of stress in an already difficult time. However, if someone else caused your injuries, it’s vital you take legal action as soon as you feel you are able; you only have a limited time in which to file charges against another party.
Where Do I Start?
After an injury, you may be inundated with medical concerns, medication details, dos and don’ts for your injury, and countless other details. Typically, your insurance will come into play sooner rather than later. In some situations, your or the other party’s insurance may be able to cover your expenses.
The amount of financial compensation you receive from insurance will largely depend on whether or not the other party has coverage, and how much. If the other party has no insurance and few assets, you may be unable to collect on your compensation, even if a court rules in your favor. However, if there is little to no doubt that the other party is indeed completely responsible for your injuries, you certainly want to take legal action as soon as you are able.
Find Legal Counsel
Once you decide to pursue legal action against the person or party who injured you, speak with an attorney who has the experience to handle your case. A skilled and competent personal injury attorney has the knowledge to help you decide whether or not filing a lawsuit is in your best interest. In some cases, you may have better results from filing a third party claim against the other party’s insurance company. Keep in mind that your attorney will be able to help you determine the best course of action, so trust his or her expertise.
If your attorney has advised that a lawsuit will yield the best results, then you will issue a complaint with intent to sue to the defendant. Once the courts serve the defendant with the complaint, he or she will be given a court date with time enough to secure an attorney of his or her own choosing. Once both sides have established representation, they will begin the “discovery” phase of pre-trial proceedings, meaning both sides will provide their evidence and witness information to each other.
The pre-trial period will also include court appearances to provide updates on the progress of the case, such as whether or not both sides agree to mediation or arbitration. If either party finds those methods unacceptable, or the two parties cannot reach a settlement agreement, the case goes to trial, and the judge will decide fault and how much compensation the victim should receive.
In most personal injury cases, settlements are very likely, as neither side typically relishes the idea of a lengthy court battle. Settlements can even be reached before an initial complaint is issued. Settlements are most common after discovery has started, and the weight of the evidence is made clear to both sides.
No matter how simple or complex your situation is, if you’ve been injured by someone else, it’s crucial to obtain legal representation from an experienced, compassionate attorney. The Liljegren Law Group’s first priority in any case is to maximize recovery for victims. If you have any questions about a recent injury or would like a free case evaluation, please visit us online or reach out to our team in San Diego.