Accidents happen, the reality is that in far too many situations, one party involved in the event acted negligently and in turn, caused the accident to happen.
The statistics in the United States are too extreme to ignore. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of personal injuries in the nation and account for six million events each year with well over two million resulting in injuries or disabilities.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that accident-related injuries change the lives of over three million people each year in the United States, with the average financial impact being between $140,000 to more than one million.
Were you injured in an accident due to the negligence of someone else? Are you suffering physically, financially or emotionally as a result?
Here are the steps in the personal injury lawsuit process and what to expect moving forward:
Initial Consultation with Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in the Florida area you can meet with a Boca Raton personal injury attorney, usually free of charge. The initial consultation is established to meet with an expert in personal injury litigation and assess your individual case.
Setting up an appointment with a personal injury lawyer is always a good idea as they are experts in the field of this litigation and can help explain the process as well as build a case on your behalf if you choose to move forward.
Take advantage of the initial consultation to ask any pressing questions as well as learn about the attorney’s fees.
Filing the Lawsuit
As with any legal proceeding, if you choose to move forward with a lawsuit, it is extremely wise to do so with a lawyer on your side. After the initial consultation, your attorney should make it clear to you the best course of action to take as well as the type of compensation that may be available to you if the lawsuit is successful.
The next step is to file the actual lawsuit. It will contain documentation about the complaint, the legal basis for holding the defendant liable, as well as type of damages the plaintiff is seeking. In effect, it properly notifies the defendant about the lawsuit and provides time for the defendant to answer to the complaint.
Assuming the defendant fights the case, the next step is to build a discovery. The discovery is a formal evidence-exchange process where both parties build a case as they study the evidence and witness reports related to the accident.
The discovery is designed to be handled by a legal team that can carefully examine the case, find liability and negligence in the accident, and potentially consult with experts that can help support your case against the defendant.
Pretrial Motions and Hearings
Pretrial Motions and Hearings is a fancy term for a phase in the lawsuit where attorneys try to compel the other side of the case to back up the evidence they claim in the discovery.
Here, the lawyers may also attempt to file motions to resolve the case before it goes to trial. The goal is that the lawsuit is settled here in your favor, though that’s not always the case.
Here is another opportunity for both sides to reach an agreement before the case officially moves to a trial. Often times if the defendant is concerned about losing the case he or she may want a settlement to avoid drawing out the legal process.
In the event a defendant wants to reach a settlement, your lawyer can help walk you through the process. In this case, it’s important to understand that you have most of the power and influence, so while you shouldn’t make unreasonable demands, you should expect fair compensation for your injuries.
If a settlement is not reached, the lawsuit will move to face a judge in a court of law. The trial in a personal injury case typically has two stages: 1) the jury decides if the defendant is liable after the case is heard, 2) if so, the jury also determines the amount of damages.
Post-Trial Motions, Appeals, & Collecting Your Judgment or Settlement
Ideally, the case has a preferred result and you will receive the fair compensation for damages that you are owed. There are scenarios where the defendant may not feel satisfied with the decision made in trial and file a post-trial motion (which seeks to set aside the judgment for now, or reduce the amount of damages).
The other option for a defendant that loses a case is to file an appeal. If the lawsuit does go into an appeal, both parties may still negotiate a settlement to bring closure to the case before a potential second trial.
If you were injured and are looking to pursue a personal injury case, contact the attorneys at Balkan & Patterson today to learn more about how we can help you. For more information, give us a call at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.