What an individual should know when involved in a legal matter regarding personal injury. Provided are guidelines of what to look for when choosing an attorney and the processes involved in a typical personal injury case.
Using a personal injury lawyer who is experienced and skilled is essential to recovering damages after being injured because of someone else's negligence. Oftentimes, the person responsible did not cause the injury out of malice but rather by accident. No matter what the case, they must still be held responsible for their actions. Personal injury cases most often take place between private parties, where one side seeks monetary damages from the other side as compensation for their injuries. It is important to understand the process of an injury case to make sure the necessary steps are taken if involved in a case.
The first step is to hire an experienced and qualified personal injury lawyer. A good personal injury lawyer will make sure their clients rights are protected and receive the full compensation due. An important factor to confirm when initiating the case is to make sure the lawyer or law firm knows the state laws pertaining to the case and is aware of filing deadlines.
Act quickly. This is important. The sooner the personal injury lawyer is hired, the sooner they can get started investigating and building your case. Witnesses forget details over time and evidence can get misplaced.
Filing the case is the next step in a personal injury case. The lawyer will file a complaint or petition with the court. This legal document details how the client came to be injured and whom they believe is at fault and how they wish to be compensated. The court collects a fee for this filing of the complaint.
Next comes the Service. The complaint filed with the court needs to be served upon the party being sued. A process server will bring a copy of the document to the individual and is witness to the date and time of the service. This proof of delivery is filed with the court.
The responding party usually has 20-30 days to file their answer after they have been served, depending on the state laws. This process gives the opposing party an opportunity to tell their side of the story and gives them a chance to explain why they shouldn't have to be held accountable for any injuries. They can also choose to file a counter-claim against the plaintiff if they decide they have also been hurt or injured.
Then there is the Discovery process. This step gives both parties the opportunity to exchange relevant documents and information and can include any criminal history or past accidents/injuries. If a party fails to abide by the discovery requests, then Motions are filed with the court to ensure the party is compelled to respond.
Most personal injury cases are settled before they have to go to trial. However, if the two opposing parties cannot reach an agreement, the only way to resolve it is by way of a trial. A trial can take anywhere from a single day to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.
According to most state laws, the plaintiff in a personal injury case has two years from the time of the injury to file his or her claim.
To learn more about personal injury law, please visit the website of Berman & Riedel, LLP at www.bermanlawyers.com.