Most personal injury claims do not end up in court. However, when a personal injury claim does turn into a lawsuit, the legal climate changes. Although not all personal injury lawsuits are alike, once the courts are involved, most tend to take on the same succession of steps. Whether you are preparing to enter into personal injury lawsuit, or you are a recent victim of a personal injury and wish to move forward with an accident claim, it would be wise for you to familiarize yourself with what might take place.
Continue reading to learn the general stages of a personal injury lawsuit, and how to get started on your accident claim in Indiana.
When a Personal Injury Claim Goes to Trial
Even though personal injury lawsuits are all different, when they end up in trial, they usually have the same litigation milestones. These milestones lay the foundation of what you can expect the general succession of steps in a personal injury lawsuit to look like. If you have already decided to file a personal injury lawsuit, you have hopefully already hired professional legal representation from a law firm who specializes in personal injury law.
This is the first stage of the process.
The first step to addressing any legal matter is to retain qualified legal representation. However, you do not want to hire just any attorney. It is vital that you seek legal assistance from a law firm that specializes in the type of claim you need to file. In this case, you would hire an Indiana personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury law firms provide free initial case evaluations for you to learn your legal rights to being compensated for your damages and losses.
Additionally, most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they do not collect any lawyer fees unless they recover settlement or verdict for you. If they are unsuccessful at obtaining a settlement for you, there is no obligation to pay them for their services. Be sure to also choose a law firm that has extensive trial and litigation experience.
The next stage of a personal injury lawsuit mostly involves your hired legal team. To determine if you have a valid case, your personal injury lawyer will likely begin an exploratory investigation, starting with a liability investigation and confirming the adequacy of the opposing party’s insurance coverage. Sometimes, this step is done prior to making the client-attorney relationship official.
In the event that your accident lawyer believes your case is valid, they will move forward by filing a personal injury complaint against the defendant in the appropriate civil court. This personal injury complaint is the very first official document of an accident lawsuit. From this time, your personal injury lawyer will have to locate and serve the defendant a copy of the complaint.
After a defendant is served a lawsuit, the defendant will provide a copy of the lawsuit to their insurance carrier and the insurance carrier will hire a defense attorney for the defendant to answer the complaint and defend the case. Under any insurance policy a defendant has with their insurance company, the insurance company chooses the defense attorney and the insurance company pays the defense attorney.
At this stage of the personal injury lawsuit process, the lawyers hired to represent both parties will begin the pretrial process. This is known as discovery, and involves several steps in itself. During this time, both lawyers will exchange all evidence with one another, including witness information. They will also go before the proceeding judge to let them know how the case is proceeding. Also in the presence of the judge, they will decide on all deadlines for filings in the case, a mediation deadline, a final pre-trial conference date and a trial date.
As the discovery stage continues, both lawyers will also schedule depositions and other necessary interviews and statements. This stage of the personal injury lawsuit process can take several months and involve a few court appearances. The amount of time it takes to complete the pretrial stage will depends on various factors, such as the current traffic of the court, the amount of investigation required, court delays, rescheduled court dates, and so forth.
The Final Stage is Trial
The last stage of the personal injury lawsuit process is the actual trial, which can last for several days. The judge will be the ultimate decider, unless it is a jury trial, in which a jury will decide who is at fault for the accident and which damages the plaintiff is entitled to. Most personal injury cases are jury trials. After the trial, either side can choose to file an appeal. Once all appeals are extinguished, the defendant [ie. defendant’s insurance company] must pay the plaintiff their verdict if they received one.
Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers That Will Fight For Your Rights
Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 if you need an experienced personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our seasoned personal injury lawyers are ready and able to recover the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve after being seriously injured by another’s negligence. You should recover for damages and losses, including medical expenses, hospital bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and more if the damages were caused by another person’s negligence. We represent injured persons throughout the State of Indiana. Get started with a free consultation, today.