If you've been injured through the fault of someone's negligence, you'll likely have a case for compensation in a personal injury suit. Personal injuries can come from a number of different sources, such as slip and fall accidents, car crashes, and dog bites. Regardless of how you've been injured and why most personal injury cases follow the same basic timeline. From the time of injury to settlement, here's a timeline of how your case will play out.
Seek Out An Attorney
If you've been injured and believe someone else is at fault, you'll want to meet with a personal injury lawyer right away. Be prepared to show your own notes, medical records, and information about your insurance policy and company. Your attorney will want to know every minute detail of your case, so make sure to take meticulous notes and get copies of all important paperwork.
File Your Claim
If you've met with an attorney who has decided to take your case, the first action will be filing a claim. Also known as a petition, the initial claim will lay out the case and mention the parties involved. This complaint will notify the defendant that a personal injury case is being pursued against them. The defendant then responds with an answer to the claim and states their legal standing in the matter. If the defendant feels the plaintiff is responsible for their injuries, a counterclaim can be filed.
Discovery is an important legal term for any court case. The judicial system wants as few surprises as possible during court cases, so attorneys from both sides share information. Remember, trials are all about fairness, so each party is obligated to inform the other of their evidence. This is where you get your story straight - any lies will be discovered and your case will be thrown in jeopardy. Remember, you don't need to explain yourself, and answer the questions delivered to you.
Motions and Settlements
The majority of personal injury claims never make it to trial. Instead, a motion or settlement is agreed about before a trial can commence. A motion can be filed to dismiss the case on a number of grounds or to rule in favor of one party before trial. If the facts of a case aren't disputed, then a motion called summary judgment is used to determine the end results. A settlement means that the plaintiff has agreed to give upthe legal pursuit of the matter because of agreements (ie. compensation) made with the defendant.
If your claim heads to trial, you'll be judged by a jury of your peers. This is no different than a criminal case - two parties state their case, bring evidence, and surrender judgement to the jury. The jury then decides who wins the case. If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, the case is declared a mistrial and either is dismissed or started over from the beginning.
If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, contact Rush Injury Law. The attorneys at Rush have the experience needed in these types of cases to max out compensation for victims.