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Personal Injury Claims

What Are the Stages of a Personal Injury Claim?

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Personal Injury Claims

If you've suffered an injury because of someone else's negligence, the best thing to do is to take legal action against them. However, many people have no idea how the legal process works and may fail to file a personal injury claim. 

If you or someone you know is in such a situation, we'll help you understand the stages of a personal injury claim. Understanding the personal injury claim process is essential because it allows you to plan ahead. Below is a breakdown of the various stages of a personal injury claim and what they entail. 

Medical Attention and Documentation

It's always advisable to seek medical attention first after getting injured because of someone else's negligence. The doctor should document your injuries and provide you with a medical report after treatment. The medical documentation should include the doctor's diagnosis of the injury, line-item medical bills, and detailed notes stating that your injuries manifested because of the accident. 

Even if you feel like your injuries are not severe enough, it's always advisable to seek medical attention. If you fail to seek medical attention right away, you leave room for the defendant to claim the injuries weren't related to the accident in question. 

For this reason, always ensure that you obtain a copy of the official medical report from a doctor or hospital and present it as evidence in your personal injury case. It also serves as proof that you had no prior health complications relating to the injury before the incident occurred.

Remember that a successful personal injury claim depends on proving the existence and severity of your injuries.

Moreover, medical records can help your attorney estimate an appropriate settlement or judgment amount. Therefore, if the insurance company offers you a lesser settlement amount than what you deserve, our attorney can use medical records as leverage. 

Consultation With a Lawyer

After seeking medical treatment, you need to schedule a consultation with a qualified personal injury attorney. At Morgan & Morgan, we offer our potential clients a free, no-obligation case evaluation to kickstart the journey to compensation for their injuries.

By doing so, the attorney can assess your situation and advise on what action to take next. Even if you aren't sure whether you need a lawyer to represent you in court, it's best to consult an attorney before filing a personal injury claim.  

In most cases, the defendant will also have legal representation. It is therefore important to have an attorney who has your best interests in mind as well.

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FAQ

Stages of A Personal Injury Claim FAQs

  • How to Evaluate a Personal Injury Lawyer

    Before hiring an attorney to represent you in court, you should evaluate them to see if they're qualified enough to handle your case. Additionally, you should inquire about their level of experience. 

    Next, look into their case results and decide if you like what you see. For example, at Morgan & Morgan, we have helped our clients recover over $10 billion worth of compensation in the three decades we have been in the industry.  

    Be cautious of attorneys that promise to get you any settlement because a settlement doesn't always mean that you've won the case. Sometimes when you agree to an insurance settlement, the insurance company may downplay your injury and offer compensation that's less than what you deserve. 

    Morgan & Morgan attorneys don't settle for anything less than what you deserve. And if the insurance company won't agree to pay what you are entitled to, we will take the case to court. 

    The time it takes for a lawyer to evaluate your case also matters when selecting an attorney. Lawyers who make quick promises about getting you a certain amount as compensation without looking into all details of the case may not be up to the task. On the other hand, good lawyers take time to review your case in detail before telling you the way forward.

  • Hire a Personal Injury Attorney and Understand the Costs Involved

    After finding a good lawyer who's ready to take on your case, you can go on and discuss the legal fees involved. For instance, at Morgan & Morgan, we charge our clients a contingency fee which means you won't pay us anything unless you win the case or get a settlement. With us, you don't have to worry about hidden fees; we are honest from the moment we begin working with you to the end of the case. 

  • Personal Injury Case Investigation

    After hiring a lawyer, they will begin investigating your case to fully understand the finer details and the value of your claim. The next thing they will do is contact the insurance company or the attorney representing the defendant. 

    In the meantime, your primary focus should be on recovery. Your attorney will brief you on the progress of the negotiations and inform you of any significant developments you need to know about. 

  • Personal Injury Settlement Agreement

    Most personal injury cases resolve before the case goes to trial. If the insurance company makes a reasonable settlement offer, your lawyer will advise you on whether to accept the offer or not. While the lawyer's arguments will be based on their professional opinion, your decision plays a huge role at this point.

  • Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Court

    If the insurance company fails to provide any settlement offer and the negotiations fail, your attorney will file a personal injury claim in court. Alternatively, if the insurance company makes an offer, but it's less than what your case is worth, you can reject it and instruct your lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. 

    Either way, Morgan & Morgan attorneys are always ready to represent you in and out of court.

  • How Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit Filed?

    There are three steps involved when filing a personal injury lawsuit. They include:

    Complaint and Answer

    In this stage, your attorney will file a complaint outlining your allegations against the defendant. The defendant will then be served with the complaint and given a chance to accept or deny the allegations by filing an answer form to the court.

    Discovery

    If the defendant files an answer to the court denying the allegations, the attorneys on both sides will then prepare the evidence that supports their client. Evidence may be testimonies, documentation, and other information vital to the case. 

    Motions

    The law allows the defendant to file a motion to dismiss your claim. This is done to ensure that both sides receive a fair hearing. Your attorney will then have to respond to the defendant's motion appropriately.

    Mediation

    It's mandatory in some states for both parties to try and resolve the matter via mediation. 

    Mediation is an informal settlement meeting attended by all parties involved in a lawsuit. Lawyers then choose a mediator from both parties to help settle the matter before it proceeds to trial.

    A pretrial conference is then held if both parties involved fail to settle the matter via mediation.

    Pretrial Conference

    The judge, attorneys from both sides, the plaintiff, and the defendant usually meet in a pretrial conference to clarify specific legal matters before the trial. This conference provides a platform for both parties to eliminate unnecessary issues from being raised during the trial. It also gives both parties a chance to file pretrial motions.

    Issues discussed during the pretrial conference include:

    • Simplification of the legal issues involved;
    • Elimination of frivolous claims or defenses;
    • Identification of documents that will be part of the evidence;
    • Identification of witnesses;
    • Creation of a timetable indicating when both parties should submit motions and briefs;
    • Rulings on already submitted motions;
    • Determination of whether an out-of-court settlement is still possible.

    If all parties agree that an out-of-court settlement is still possible, the case will not go to trial.

    The pretrial conference also gives room for both parties to raise additional issues. If this happens, either party is at liberty to file another motion in response or request another pretrial conference. 

    Trial

    If an out-of-court settlement is not possible, the case will go to trial. During trial, the judge will examine the evidence presented by your lawyer and decide if the defendant is legally liable for your injuries. If the judge finds the defendant liable, the judge will have to determine the extent of liability. 

    There are usually six stages of a personal injury trial as discussed below: 

    Choosing a Jury

    Some personal injury cases are tried before a judge, while others before a jury. If your case is to be tried before a jury, the judge and both parties' attorneys will need to select jurors.   

    Opening Statements

    Both parties' attorneys are required to give opening statements. Your attorney will present facts of the incident and explain the defendant's role in causing your injuries. On the other hand, the defendant's attorney will outline the defenses to the allegations made.

    Witness Testimony and Cross-Examination

    At this stage, each party will present evidence to the court supporting their side of the story. Both parties will call upon witnesses to testify and introduce physical evidence such as photographs and medical reports to prove their case. 

    The opposing party will then be given a chance to challenge the presented evidence and cross-examine the other party's witnesses. 

    After both parties have argued their case, presented their witnesses and evidence to the judge or jury, no new evidence will be admissible to the court.

    Closing Arguments

    In this stage, both parties' attorneys will sum up the case and attempt to prove their point to the court. 

    Jury Instruction

    If the case is tried before a jury, the judge has to present to the jury a set of legal standards they need to follow to determine whether the defendant should be held accountable.

    Jury Deliberation and Verdict

    In this stage, the jury enters deliberation and decides if the defendant should be held accountable. If the jury decides that the defendant should be held accountable, they'll discuss the compensation you ought to receive for your injuries.

    On the other hand, if the defendant is not found liable, the case will be dismissed.

    Note that the lawsuit process can take months or even years, depending on the complexity of your case and the state where you reside. 

     

  • Why You Need Morgan & Morgan Attorneys

    When it comes to filing a personal injury claim, the process is never straightforward. What starts as a standard claim could easily escalate into a lawsuit, requiring a lot of legal expertise. That's where Morgan & Morgan's army of attorneys come in to help you get the compensation you are entitled to.

    Our law firm, the largest in the United States, boasts over 800 attorneys strategically situated in all 50 states across the country. We've handled different kinds of personal injury cases for over 30 years! For this reason, you can always count on our experience, legal resources, and reputation in this field to prove you with the best legal representation anywhere in the United States! 

    Call us today at 888-285-2886 to send us a message online for a free case evaluation! 

     

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