Why file a personal injury lawsuit?
After suffering a personal injury, it’s important to seek compensation to make up for time you lost from work, the expense of your medical care, your pain and suffering, and any potential future lost wages. Most of these cases are settled out of court, but if the party that owes you compensation isn’t willing to take a deal, then it may be time to start a lawsuit.
You may also decide to pursue a lawsuit if the statute of limitations on your claim is running out and you have not yet reached a settlement with the offending party’s insurance company. Knowing when to pursue a lawsuit is vital to making the right decision for yourself, your loved ones, and your finances.
What’s The Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Lawsuit?
After an accident where you suffer an injury, it’s important to file a claim with the other party’s insurance company. A claim is simply a filing you make alleging that you were damaged by the insurance policy’s holder and seek out compensation for it. Negotiations will then begin between you, the insurance company, and any legal representation that you may have. Expenses that are commonly covered in a personal injury claim are as follows:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Damages to your property
In most instances, an insurance company’s claim adjuster will seek to settle with you on an agreed amount to cover your losses. However, if the insurance company refuses to settle for the amount you seek or rejects your claim outright, you will then have to escalate to a lawsuit to win what you believe you are owed in court. If you want to speak to an attorney about how you can get the full amount you’re owed in two easy steps, visit this website.
What Happens During a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Once a settlement has been ruled out, personal injury lawsuits typically unfold according to the following pattern.
Pretrial – Filing Your Suit
Your attorney will take the formal motion of filing your suit in court. A judge will set a timeline by which several steps must be concluded to proceed with your case.
- Complaint and Answer: During this phase, you will submit your side of the story behind your injury. The defendant will typically have 30 days in which to respond accepting or rejecting your telling of events.
- Discovery: Both sides will collect evidence to support their claims. This typically involves obtaining depositions, or oral testimony, from those involved in the accident and witnesses. Either side may also reach out to expert witnesses to support their claims.
- Motions: A defendant can ask the court directly to dismiss your claims. You will typically have 28 days to respond to and counter this request if it is made.
During a trial, your side and that of the defendant will present your cases to a judge or a jury. Witnesses may be called to testify and may be subject to cross-examination. Once both sides have had a chance to present their arguments, the judge or jury will come to a decision. The case may end here with you receiving an award or leaving with a loss of your case.
One side may seek to appeal a decision that the court reached, which can cause another trial to proceed. If not, and you won your case, then it may still take some time for you to receive your compensation. During this period, your attorney will be paid from any winnings of your case.
How Long Can a Personal Injury Lawsuit take to Resolve?
A personal injury lawsuit can take a year or more to resolve. During this time you may face financial strain, which causes many people who are facing the prospect of a lengthy court battle to settle for less than they are owed.
A personal injury case lawsuit is something you should consider once other avenues of obtaining compensation have closed. Should you proceed with a case, working with an experienced attorney can help you obtain the maximum compensation.