After a traumatic event like a car crash, a medical procedure gone awry, or a construction accident, often the only way for someone to recover from their injuries and move on with their life is to file a personal injury lawsuit. But how do these lawsuits work? What steps do they involve? And what’s the best way to go about filing one?
We know how intimidating filing a lawsuit can seem, which is why we’re here to demystify the process. Here’s what to expect when filing a personal injury claim.
1. Free Consultation
Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to review the circumstances of your injury and determine if you qualify for a lawsuit. Even better, in the event that you do have a case, an attorney likely won’t charge you anything upfront to file a lawsuit on your behalf. That’s because most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if you do. If they successfully resolve your case, your attorney earns a percentage of your settlement or jury award. Their fee comes out of your recovery, not your pocket.
2. Filing the Lawsuit
After you hire a personal injury attorney, they’ll usually send a letter to the negligent party—most often an insurance company or other large corporation, not an individual—demanding the compensation you need to cover the past and future costs of your injury. If the negligent party refuses to pay, that’s when the attorney files a formal complaint (lawsuit) seeking these damages on your behalf.
The next phase of the case is discovery, during which both sides gather evidence to build a persuasive case. For example, when filing a car crash lawsuit, a personal injury lawyer may reconstruct the accident, examine photographic and video evidence, speak with eyewitnesses, review police and medical records, and consult with medical experts, among other tasks.
Once each side has finished building their case, they enter the negotiation phase (known as mediation), where they try to agree on a settlement amount to avoid going to court. Indeed, 90-95% of personal injury claims are settled before ever going to trial. That being said, a good personal injury attorney should never settle for anything less than full and fair compensation for their client.
5. Trial (if Necessary)
If a fair settlement can’t be reached, lawyers for each side present their case at trial, where a jury will determine who they believe is responsible for the injury, and how much money the defendant owes the plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit), if anything.
How Morgan & Morgan Is Different
While going to court may sound frightening, it can lead to a greater outcome for the client. At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys have won $139 million in favorable jury verdicts, compared to the $6.4 million the other side offered to settle these cases. That’s, on average, 20 times more than our clients would have recovered if we hadn’t gone to trial.
The truth is that, while filing a lawsuit can seem intimidating, if you choose the right law firm, you’ll be in good hands. For over 30 years, Morgan & Morgan has been fighting For The People, not the powerful. We’ve recovered $15 billion for hundreds of thousands of clients, and we’re proud to say that we’re now America’s largest personal injury law firm.
If you or a loved one have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. It costs nothing upfront to hire us, and we get paid only if we successfully resolve your case.
Justice can’t wait. Contact us today.