Free Online Legal Resources
A personal injury incident will either become a claim or a lawsuit. A claim involves the injury party and the insurance company, whereas as a lawsuit involves the courts. After your injury a claim would be filed against the liable party’s insurance company, who will research and process your claim. Negotiations may ensue from here until an appropriate settlement can be reached. A large majority of personal injury claims settle before trial. If you agree to accept a settlement, you will be required to sign an agreement absolving the other party of any further liability or obligation.
It is important to note you should be sure not to sign any documents without prior review by an attorney. You should attend all scheduled doctor appointments in order to document your injuries. Accurate records should be kept of time you missed work, medical bills, and property damage repairs. You can document your damages with photographs of your injuries or photos of property damage.
A lawsuit usually occurs when you don’t feel the insurance company has offered a fair settlement and you wish to take the defendant to court. After a lawsuit has been filed, both parties will conduct discovery. Pretrial discovery usually takes about a full year during which time both parties investigate all aspects of the claim. This may include taking oral depositions, obtaining pertinent records, propounding interrogatories, and hiring expert witnesses to obtain more evidence about the claim. During this period of discovery and as the trial date approaches, the parties will exchange settlement offers/demands.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.