After getting involved in a car accident, slip and fall or other accident that caused an injury, there will be a number of steps and procedures that you will need to go through from the moment the accident happens until you receive a compensation check. This period of time can take anywhere from a couple of weeks, a few months or even years to settle.
At the scene of the accident, there are a couple of important things that you need to do in order to help your case. First, you must check yourself and on the other driver, as well as any passengers in your vehicle or their vehicle, and then call 911. You must exchange some basic information with the driver of the other vehicle including your name, address, email address, phone number, and insurance information. When the police arrive you should not say more than you need to. Sometimes people like to try to explain why they think the accident happened or pin the blame on the other driver. You do not want to do this. You want this interaction to be as brief as possible and want to seek medical attention.
In the pre-litigation phase, you actually have not filed a lawsuit yet. Instead, your attorney will investigate your accident, collect evidence and documents that support your allegations of liability and begin to develop your personal injury claim. First, you have an initial consultation with your attorney who will evaluate your situation and establish whether or not there is a valid personal injury claim. Next, they will request your medical records, including your medical history prior to your accident, which will have information about your physiological and psychological injuries.
During this phase, your attorney will also attempt to negotiate with the insurance adjusters in order for you to get the compensation that you deserve without having to file a lawsuit. Typically claims are settled at this point, and there is no further required activity on your part for the attorneys part.
But if there is a debate about the facts of the accident, then you may file a lawsuit. After you have formally filed a lawsuit against the at-fault party, next comes the discovery phase, which is more a formal process within the litigation phase where both parties share documents and other forms of evidence or information to each other. Your attorney will request documents from the opposing lawyers, and the opposing lawyers will send their supporting documents to your attorney.
During this phase, depositions or statements will be taken under oath given by witnesses at the accident, such as passengers, pedestrians, or other passersby. An expert witness can also be called in. An expert witness is a person who knows a lot about a specific field, such as medicine, physics, construction, or anything that can help explain your injuries or the forces that affected them.
Usually, the judge makes a decision or mediation is conducted until settlements are negotiated. Only on rare occasions does a claim go to the trial or appeal phase.
Why You Need A Personal Injury Attorney
When going through a personal injury lawsuit, there are other attorneys you will have to speak with and representatives from the insurance company who do not have your best interest at heart. Never represent yourself in a personal injury case. Instead, hire an experienced and successful personal injury lawyer.