Personal injury cases arise due to accidents at work, medical negligence, car accidents, or wrongful death. While the specifics of each case may vary, the steps involved in obtaining justice are almost similar. However, you might feel a little confused about what to do if it is your first time pursuing compensation. This article highlights some basic steps you should take with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
1. Consult a Reliable Lawyer
As just mentioned, you will need a lawyer to raise your chances of winning a personal injury case. Therefore, your first step should be to find one and set an appointment with them. During your first meeting, your lawyer will have a series of questions to establish what truly happened. The duration depends on the case presented and the legal assistance you need.
For example, auto accidents might take less time than the others, such as medical negligence, since most auto accident cases are not too complicated. Your attorney might need relevant documents and medical records during the meeting. They will also need details about your insurance coverage and whether you have discussed it with anyone about the accident. If you have, you need to tell your lawyer everything you discussed.
2. Start the Claim Process
You must first submit the required documents through your personal injury lawyer to begin the claim process. The petition papers, which are the initial documents, usually outline your case against the defendant. It also includes the parties involved and a prayer or what you expect the other party to do to pay for the damages caused.
Other documents include the summons, which notifies the defendant of the lawsuit and the time frame they should respond. The response should address each paragraph in the petition showing they accept, deny, or are unfamiliar with what is going on. The answer should also include any claims against you.
3. The Discovery Process
When trials begin, there should be minimal to zero surprises. That means both parties should be aware of all the facts surrounding the case through the exchange of documents or discovery, which entails interrogations or depositions.
Written discovery involves interrogations to know the other side of the story, while depositions are sworn statements. A court reporter will be present during the swearing time to create a conversation transcript. In addition, the deposition questions show how the other party will conduct themselves during the trial. Therefore, your lawyer should adequately prepare for such sessions.
After the above three steps, the case might be resolved before trial during pretrial motions. If not, the case will continue, and a settlement determined. Your personal injury lawyer will do everything to ensure the case works for you. Therefore, you should always consider having a reliable lawyer by your side regardless of the personal injury case at hand.