It can happen to anyone: you suddenly find yourself to be the victim of an at-fault accident and you want to fight for what you’re entitled to. A personal injury lawyer can review your case and get you the compensation you deserve. When you’re the victim of an at-fault accident, it’s important to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. The process can be intimidating to people, but it’s well worth the effort. Here are a few steps to take and what you can expect from the personal injury lawyer process:
1. The First Call
You’ll be connected with a clerk who will review the details of your case over the phone, lasting about half an hour and will go over preliminary details of the case. Providing as much information as you can is a sure way to assess the situation and determine if a personal injury lawyer on the staff can help you. The first call is often free, however the consultation will not always be.
2. The First Consultation
After your report is read and the lawyer believes you may have a viable case, the first in-person consultation is in place. The lawyer will go over the details of the case with you, looking at the strengths of the case and extracting information not originally provided in the report to fill in the blanks. Strengthen your case with proper documentation and information – it’s all protected under a privacy act.
The personal injury lawyer will then gauge the strength of the case based on all the information provided. It’s a much longer consultation going over the feasibility of the case and the best course to proceed. The important thing about this consultation is that you understand whether or not they will charge you and by how much. If you aren’t comfortable with the lawyer, then move on.
3. Mediating the Case
Personal injury lawyers are only paid if your case wins in court, so if they see a weak case, they likely won’t take it. If they do decide to proceed with the case, your lawyer will recommend that you have a medical evaluation to determine the seriousness of your injuries if you have not been evaluated already. Then you will have to contact a mediator (a third-party assists both parties in coming to an agreement on this conflict). If a settlement is reached by the end of the mediation period, the case does not have to go to court. However, if no settlement is reached, the case will proceed to court with a mediator’s report to fight for a settlement.
4. Filing a Claim and Proceeding with the Case
Your personal injury lawyer and yourself will file a claim for the case. In court, the plaintiffs and the defendants will be expected to disclose evidence to one another at a meeting in the court reporter’s office. During this meeting, you will be asked questions by the defense lawyer about the incident and your injuries. Similarly, your lawyer will ask the defendant’s client questions about the accident.
5. Discussion of Settlement and Pre-Trial Meeting
A discussion of a settlement will take place between you, the defendant’s client, and the insurance company. Your personal injury lawyer will try to make a settlement for your claim, however if no settlement is reached, then the case will proceed to the pre-trial meeting. At this meeting, the lawyers and judge will examine the issues of the accident and determine how much you are entitled to. It’s common that these cases are settled pre-trial, however there are some cases that actually do make it all the way to court. In this case, your personal injury lawyer will guide you through the process and help you fight for proper compensation.