When you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit to help cover the loss of work, medical bills, and other expenses that come up during your healing time. Whether you are a victim of a slip and fall or a car accident, a personal injury attorney in Denver can cover a lot of different incidents along the way.
However, filing a personal injury lawsuit can take time, and the legal steps can be confusing to someone who isn’t used to handling it all. Learning how to file a personal injury lawsuit can help. Before you decide to take this important step, you need to know the proper procedure for getting it done.
While each case is different, some of the common steps you can take to file a personal injury lawsuit include:
Evaluate the Other Party’s Insurance
After an injury, you should first determine whether someone else is legally responsible for the accident; you can check with their insurance to see whether it will help cover some of the claims. For example, when there is a car accident, you will often exchange insurance information and work with them to determine whether there is coverage for your injuries.
You will need to determine whether you’d be able to collect the damages you are awarded. You may be able to swing the judgment in your favor, but collecting on any financial remunerations is another story. If the defendant doesn’t have insurance in place and little assets, you may not get the money you need for your injuries.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Take the time to talk to several attorneys about your case. Unless the personal injury case is very simple, it is a good idea to work with an accredited lawyer specializing in these types of scenarios during the case. Remember, discussing your potential case with an attorney is not the same as hiring one. You can find many personal injury lawyers who will be happy to provide a free consultation where they discuss your case and let you know some of the different legal options.
In most cases, attorneys working with personal injury clients will serve on a contingency basis. This means that you, as the client, will only pay something if a settlement is in your favor. When this happens, the attorney will take a percentage of the settlement for their services. Ask about how much this is ahead of time.
The Decision to File a Lawsuit
There are ways that you can recover compensation for the accident without running to court and filing a lawsuit. It is not uncommon for personal injury cases to reach a settlement before trial. In fact, most of them can be resolved before ever stepping foot in court. The insurance company often will work with you and offer a settlement to save on the time and fees associated with going to court.
Of course, it is possible that the claim will stall or the settlement negotiations will break down. When this happens, working with a personal injury lawyer and considering a lawsuit is the best course of action. This will allow you to still get the compensation that you deserve.
Always keep track of the personal injury statute of limitations in your state. This will have a limit on the amount of time you get to file the lawsuit. If you miss that date, you can’t get compensation for the injury again.
File a Complaint
After you decide you have a legitimate case, the plaintiff’s attorney will work with you to file your personal injury complaint in civil court. This will be the first official document created in the case, laying out in detail what the plaintiff is claiming the defendant did to cause the harm.
After this complaint is filed, your attorney will have a month to serve the complaint over to the defendant. This basically means that the complaint is delivered to the defendant in a manner that is verified, making it impossible for the defendant to claim they knew nothing about the lawsuit.
Pre-Trial and Discovery
During the pre-trial process, both sides will ask for evidence and information on witnesses in a phase that is called discovery. Both sides will need to show up in court to help inform the judge of how the case should proceed, agree or disagree for mediation, and set the trial date.
Each involved party will be able to gather the information they think is necessary to keep the ball rolling. It can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on the severity of the case and how everything goes. Both parties want to get as much information about the case as possible.
After all the other work, it is time to head to trial. These can last a few days or more, but it will depend on the information presented and how in-depth the case is. At the trial, the judge or a jury will listen to the evidence and then figure out whether the defendant is required to pay out the damages because they were the ones at fault for the accident. They can also determine the cost of the settlement.
After the trial, it is possible that the defendant could file an appeal, which can make the process go on for longer. Once all of the appeals process has been exhausted, a losing defendant will be required to pay out the damages as ordered at the time.
Whether the settlement happens before or during the trial, the other side must pay out if you are awarded it. Your personal injury attorney will be able to help you figure out the settlement and get the compensation that you deserve.
The Bottom Line
When you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may need to work with a personal injury attorney to help handle the case and find the settlement you deserve. Working with an excellent personal injury attorney will make the process easier. They can answer your questions, help defend you in court, and ensure you can get your deserved settlement.
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