Negligence, or the legal term for fault, is the foundation of all personal injury claims. For example, if an intoxicated driver hits you with their vehicle and causes injuries, that driver was negligent. The idea that everyone must show reasonable consideration for one another is the basis of negligence. Demonstrating that the individual who caused your injuries was careless or not reasonably diligent will be necessary to prove your claims.
Step 01: The Accident
The most common types of accidents are car crashes. After a car accident, you should gather evidence. Take pictures of vehicle damage, skid marks, and anything else that could show fault. Get a police report from the officer at the scene. If there are witnesses, get their contact information. Also, ensure you seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel OK.
Step 02: Medical Treatment
Seeking medical treatment is crucial not only for your health but also for your personal injury claim. If you file a claim for injuries but never see a doctor, the insurance company is going to claim that you are not really injured. So seek medical attention as soon as possible and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Step 03: Hire a Lawyer
While you might be able to handle some personal injury claims on your own, if you suffered a serious injury, you should seek legal help. A lawyer can assist you with the rest of the process.
Step 04: Investigation
The lawyer will ask you about the accident, how it happened, what injuries you have, and the medical treatment you have sought. The lawyer will want your medical bills and medical records to help put your case together. Sometimes, the lawyer will hire investigators and experts to assist with your case. This process could take several months.
Step 05: Negotiation
If the lawyer thinks that the case can be settled before filing a lawsuit, they will make a demand to the other attorney. However, the lawyer will want to ensure you have reached maximum medical improvement, which means you have recovered as much as possible.
Step 06: Filing a Lawsuit/Discovery Phase
If the case cannot be settled, the lawyer will file a lawsuit. This will then trigger the discovery phase, in which each party investigates the other side’s legal claims and defenses.
Step 07: Mediation
The case can still settle outside of court in mediation, which is where a third party helps the plaintiff and defendant negotiate a settlement.
Step 08: Trial
When mediation does not work, the case goes to trial. This means the judge will decide the outcome in court. Sometimes a jury may be involved.