Every personal injury claim is unique because specific circumstances and facts surrounding an accident will vary in each case. Moreover, there are a few steps that are common to all personal injury claims. Having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side can help you remain informed about what to expect. It can also vastly improve the likelihood of getting the outcome you are seeking.
1. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Speak to a Mississippi personal injury attorney before you discuss the accident with anyone else. In fact, you should talk to an attorney even before you post anything online. You should expect to hear from the insurance company soon enough if the fault of the other party is clear. They usually reach out quickly in the hopes of getting a claimant to settle for peanuts.
This is why you should not waste any time speaking with a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will learn more about your injuries and get your side of the story. They will also evaluate the evidence and determine whether the claim is valid or not.
2. Notify the Defendant
Your personal injury attorney will proceed with the claim and legal side of things while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries. The attorney will notify all relevant at-fault parties that you are looking to sue. This step is known as putting the party on notice. They will also let their individual insurance companies know that you are considering pursuing compensation by filing a claim for your injuries.
3. Collect Evidence to Support Your Claim
The personal injury attorney will investigate and gather evidence to support your claim. This can be inspecting and photographing the accident scene. You would need to obtain and store any physical evidence that works in your favor. These are a few ways to gather evidence:
- Interview witnesses and obtain statements.
- Request copies of investigative reports.
- Conduct background research on at-fault parties.
- Collect information on past claims.
4. Demand Letter and Negotiations
Your attorney will draft a demand letter after calculating an accurate estimate for your injuries. The demand letter will include an overview of the claim and solid reasoning for the compensation being requested. This usually opens the doorway to further negotiations with the insurance company. Most claims get settled at this point since going to court is uncertain and can be risky for both parties.
5. Discovery Process
This is an important stage in the preparatory phase of a personal injury lawsuit. Discovery comes into the picture when all attempts at negotiating a settlement break down. However, you should note that the settlement stage is never really “over.” Insurance companies have been known to offer a fair settlement right at the court steps.
During Discovery, both sides get an opportunity to obtain factual information. This is also a way to eliminate any surprises for the other party. During examinations for Discovery, both sides are given equal opportunity to present their side and get questioned. Some questions may be standard while others are more specific to personal circumstances and a particular case. Your attorney will assist you through the Discovery process by accompanying you.
6. Settlement Conferences and Mediation
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution process that allows both sides to negotiate a settlement. You can expect the defendant to propose a settlement offer. During mediation, both parties show a renewed interest in arriving at a mutually beneficial decision.
7. Pre-Trial Conference
Where mediations are unsuccessful, the personal injury claim goes to a pre-trial conference. This usually takes place before a judge, a few months before the scheduled trial date. The judge meets the attorneys for both sides and provides input regarding the individual strengths and weaknesses of the claim.
Your personal injury attorney will speak with the insurance company’s attorney following this meeting. They will also give you suggestions on whether you should continue pursuing the matter through litigation or settlement. Several personal injury claims get settled at this stage. However, you may want the matter to proceed to trial if no agreement is made.
8. Trial (if a Settlement is not Reached)
Personal injury claims proceed to trial if the parties cannot arrive at a settlement. Evidence gathered through the depositions and during the discovery phase is presented before the judge and jury during the trial phase. Attorneys on both sides are asked to present their case, show the evidence, and call witnesses.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a complex, time-consuming, lengthy, and costly affair. You should work with someone with the necessary legal expertise to get you the outcome you need quickly. If you are unhappy with the judgment at the trial phase, you can request an appeal. In relation to this, the issues should be limited to procedural and legal matters.
Our Trusted Personal Injury Lawyers are Ready to Give You Strong Legal Advice and Support. Call Now.
If you or someone you love was injured in an accident because of someone else’s fault, the experienced and competent personal injury attorneys at Boyce Holleman & Associates can help. Our attorneys will help you seek maximum compensation while providing you clarity about the case and helping you anticipate what lies ahead. To set up your complimentary consultation, call us at 228-338-2691 or reach us online.