Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel is extremely helpful; it can make the difference between stress and confusion, and hope. If you are suffering from the medical and mental effects of a car accident that was not your fault, you should take the steps to get the process started, because only you can initiate a personal injury claim. Read on for a quick overview of what it's going to take to get you the money damages to which you are entitled.
You'll talk to a lawyer: Waiting on the insurance company to give you the compensation you deserve is fruitless. Only by engaging a personal injury lawyer can you get the money you deserve for pain and suffering, lost wages and more. The sooner you speak to someone, the better. In most cases, your new lawyer will get started working for you for free, using what is known as a contingency fee basis. This means that they only get paid if you win your case. What have you got lose? Perhaps thousands of dollars if you fail to seek legal help.
You'll send a letter of demand: This is the first strike in your case; where your lawyer outlines your demands and why you should be paid for the damage the at-fault driver caused you and your family. This can result in the beginning of negotiations for a settlement, which might mean avoiding going to court to get what you deserve. You should know that the chances of your case settling outside of court are high—about 95%.
You'll file the petition or complaint: This what is meant when someone says they "filed suit" or "sued". A formal document summarizing the case is filed with the courts, and all parties receive notice of the suit. You are the plaintiff, and the other party is usually the driver and their insurance carrier, known as the defendants.
You'll participate in a discovery meeting: This part of the process involves the sharing of documents and information, questionnaires and a meeting called a deposition. This meeting may be the first time that you are directly involved in an important aspect of your case, and your lawyer will prepare you well for the occasion.
You'll get updates on motions: You can expect a number of motions to be filed with the court about your case, some filed before and some once the trial begins.
You'll participate in the trial: The judge will preside over your case, and depending on several factors a jury will be seated as well. Both sides will have an opportunity to present the facts of the case, testimony and evidence.
You'll await judgment on your case: The verdict (or judgment) is one of the final parts of the trial, where you will find out if your efforts to get financially compensated for your losses were successful.
This is just a brief run down on the process. To learn more about how your specific case will go, contact local attorneys such as Carl L. Britt, Jr.