At first glance, it might look like personal injury lawsuits are simple – someone is hurt, someone sues, someone gets or pays compensation. But there are actually several distinct stages that might be involved. Keep in mind that cases don’t always need every stage mentioned below.
It all starts with the injury. Personal injury lawsuits can arise from:
Liability is also an essential factor because someone has to have caused your injury.
Your attorney will ask you about your case – what happened, who did what, and so on. But it’s also likely that your attorney will have an investigator or staff person conduct an investigation to check out the other parties involved.
The information gained during your meeting and through an investigation can be used to assess your case. Is it a winnable case? Is there a reasonable likelihood that the other party will have to pay compensation to you?
An attorney who has handled personal injury lawsuits before has a better chance of accurately assessing your case.
Often, attorneys talk with representatives from insurance companies as a first step toward resolving your case. In some cases, they might be able to settle the case without moving ahead. However, insurance companies tend to lowball settlement offers. Your attorney’s experience with past cases can help with getting the best potential settlement.
Personal injury lawsuits are often filed when negotiations fall through. Your attorney will prepare and file a complaint or petition with the appropriate court. The other party must answer your complaint within a certain period or face losing the case by default.
After your case has been filed, attorneys might begin filing motions asking the court to take some action. In some cases, one of the parties might want to protect information from becoming part of the public record. At this point, many attorneys file motions to dismiss or motions to transfer the case to another court.
All lawsuits involve discovery. In a lawsuit, discovery is when the parties exchange documents, conduct depositions, and ask each other questions. Attorneys can learn a lot about the other party’s case during discovery.
Some personal injury lawsuits head to mediation or arbitration. Either of these alternative dispute resolution methods can lead to a faster, less expensive result than going all the way to trial. It is usually the last ditch effort to get a claim settled before trial.
At this point, the trial is close. The parties and their attorneys engage with the court in clarifying how a trial will be conducted. For example, they might agree on how long the trial will last, how many jurors to impanel, and what evidence can be presented.
Even simple personal injury lawsuits can go all the way to trial. If this happens in your case, you and your attorney will appear at the courthouse with the other parties. Either a jury or a judge will hear your testimony and come to a decision. Trials can be stressful, but your experienced personal injury attorney will be by your side the whole time.
If you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you need help from top-rated, hard-working representation. At Shapiro|Delgado, our attorneys put their injury law experience to work for you. And we handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do.
We represent clients throughout Florida, including Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, and surrounding communities.
To set up a free personal consultation, call 941-954-4000 or use our convenient online contact form.
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You can count on us.