December 28th, 2020|
If you’ve been injured in a serious car accident and are considering hiring a lawyer, you might want to know the steps in a personal injury case before you’re in the middle of one. The personal injury lawsuit process can seem overwhelming for those who are unfamiliar with it.
But unfamiliarity should never deter you from exploring your legal options. That’s because you’re likely owed a significant amount of compensation. If you don’t take advantage of personal injury law, you might end up accepting a fraction of what you deserve. In addition, you won’t go through the process alone, as you’ll have an experienced law firm on your side every step of the way.
From hiring a lawyer to resolving a case through settlement or trial, we have outlined eight steps commonly seen in the personal injury lawsuit process:
- Hiring a lawyer
- Investigating your case
- Presenting your case
- Receiving a settlement offer
- Negotiating the settlement
- Settling or proceeding to a lawsuit
- Preparing for trial
- Going to trial
Though there are some exceptions, most people can expect some variation of these steps in a personal injury case. Let’s dive deeper into each of these crucial steps.
BREAKING DOWN THE STEPS IN THE PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT PROCESS
Here are the eight steps in a personal injury case that you should know:
- Get a lawyer—As soon as you are able, you should call an experienced law firm to handle your personal injury claim. They will shepherd you through the personal injury lawsuit process from start to finish and be your main advocate in getting the compensation you deserve.
- Investigate your case—The first step your law firm will take on your behalf is investigating the case thoroughly. That includes actions such as analyzing the police report, examining the accident scene, and interviewing any witnesses to the accident.
- Present your case—Once your law firm has built its case, it will present its findings to the insurance company.
- Settlement Offer—The insurance company will do one of two things next. Either they will present a settlement offer based on the case we presented or deny your personal injury claim altogether.
- Negotiation—Typically, the initial offer from the insurance company is not enough to compensate you for the full extent of your injuries. At this stage, we’ll do our best to negotiate a fairer settlement from the insurance company.
- Settlement or lawsuit—If our negotiations yield a fair settlement agreement, we’ll advise you to take it. If not, we’ll take the insurance company to court.
- Trial Preparation—Preparing for a jury trial takes a great deal of time and resources. That’s why we try to settle out of court if possible. Sometimes, that’s not possible and we have to take your claim to the courtroom. We’ll prepare evidence, prep you for what to expect, and file all the necessary paperwork for your day in court.
- Trial—Depending on the complexity of the case, personal injury trials can take as little as one day or as long as a few weeks to be heard and decided. We’ll present our case to the court, and then the insurance company will have its turn. After both sides have presented their cases, the jury will deliberate and come back with a verdict.
Will You Need to Go Through Each Step in Your Personal Injury Case?
No. It’s often true that insurance companies will settle once an attorney shows evidence and proves that their client has a strong case. That’s one of the reasons that most personal injury cases settle without the need for a trial. Insurers know that a drawn-out trial isn’t in their best interest, and they often prefer to write a check and be done with it.
Why Step 1 Is Arguably the Most Important Step in a Personal Injury Case
Many people accept the first offer an insurance company makes. Even if they decide to dispute the fairness of the offer themselves, they likely have a limited understanding of how these claims work or how much their case is worth. That’s because personal injury law is incredibly complex, and going it alone without an attorney puts victims at a major disadvantage.
Having a lawyer handle your case positions you for a more satisfactory and fair settlement. Your lawyer will not only know the personal injury lawsuit process well, they’ll also know how to deal with insurers on your behalf, allowing you to focus entirely on your recovery.
It’s important to hire an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. Take advantage of free consultations to meet with potential lawyers and get a feel for how they work and how they treat you. You can then choose the attorney you feel most comfortable with.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we believe in our team’s ability to offer exceptional service to our clients. We will fight for maximum compensation in your case. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm anytime to schedule a free, no-obligation case assessment.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE—AND GET BERG!
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, we strongly recommend you proceed to step one immediately. The sooner you get an experienced San Francisco car accident attorney on your side, the sooner you can put this accident behind you. We offer free consultations, and you’re under no pressure to proceed if you don’t wish to do so.
This blog was originally published in February 2016. It has been updated and enhanced.