Accidents happen every day. From car crashes to slip and falls, the National Safety Council estimates that more than 3 million people are affected by accident-related injuries every year. These injuries often lead to large medical bills, missed work, and other pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the associated costs and losses. To pursue a personal injury claim, you need to follow these steps:
Get Medical Treatment
Always get the medical treatment you need right after an accident. Not only is it the best thing to do for your health, but if you don’t see a doctor right away after the accident the insurance adjuster (and maybe a jury) might assume your injuries weren’t that bad and don’t deserve compensation.
Schedule a Consultation
Schedule an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer to discuss the details of your case, and if you should pursue legal action. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer about his or her experience and background in this consultation, as you need to be sure that you have the best on your side.
File Court Documents
If you and your lawyer feel that moving forward with legal action is the best plan, your lawyer will then file and serve a complaint and all other required court documents to get the case started.
Both sides will then have the opportunity to exchange evidence. Your lawyer will send a list of questions to the defendant, and the defendant’s lawyer will most likely do the same to you. Both sides can also consult with experts, police, or other parties involved in the accident, like doctors and insurance companies, to gather more evidence.
The lawyers will have a chance to try and reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. In a settlement, the defendant agrees to pay compensation and the plaintiff releases the defendant from liability.
If a settlement is not reached in negotiations, the case will go to trial. Personal injury trials usually involve two stages. First, the jury decides if the defendant is indeed liable, and then they decide the amount of damages that will be awarded to the plaintiff.
Post-Trial Motions and Settlement Payouts
If the court decides in your favor, the defendant has the right to file a post-trial motion that seeks to reduce the damages or even set aside the judgment.
If no appeals or motions are filed, your lawyer will guide you through the process of collecting your damages.
Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™
The stages of a personal injury case are complex, and you need effective and experienced counsel to guide you. As a skilled personal injury attorney, Bart Bernard can give you the legal guidance you need to win the maximum compensation in your personal injury case.
If you need help with a personal injury claim in Baton Rouge or Lafayette, Louisiana, or even if you’re not sure that you have a case, please give us a call and discuss your options during a confidential, no-cost consultation.
- Third Judicial District Court, What happens in a civil case, http://www.the3rdjudicialdistrict.com/whatciv.htm
- United States Courts, Civil Cases, https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/types-cases/civil-cases