No personal injury case is alike. They each have their own unique set of circumstances. However, most personal injury lawsuits will involve a similar legal progression, from the initial step of filing a lawsuit to the final phase of receiving a verdict or settlement. Continue reading to learn which steps will likely fill in the blanks between the start and finish of a personal injury case, plus where to obtain skilled accident representation for your claim in Indiana.
Litigation Milestones in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Although your personal injury case will not look like the next person’s, you can count on a few standard litigation milestones after deciding to move forward with a lawsuit, such as hiring an Indianapolis accident attorney and filing a complaint, as well as exploratory investigations, pretrial and discovery, depositions, and more.
Obtaining Legal Representation
The first step after making the decision to sue is to hire a personal injury law firm to represent you. An accident attorney has the proper knowledge, experience, and resources to build a strong and impactful case on your behalf to obtain the maximum settlement possible for your lawsuit.
It is not recommended to represent yourself in a personal injury lawsuit. Not only is the law complex, but the filing and deadline requirements are stringent. Furthermore, representing yourself places you at a much higher risk of losing money. You would be required to pay for all upfront costs and legal expenses, and in the end, likely receive a much lower settlement than you would without legal representation.
The personal injury lawyer might choose to initiate an exploratory investigation before taking you on as a client. An exploratory investigation primarily involves researching and confirming the defendant’s insurance coverage and your own underinsured coverage. If the lawyer decides you have a viable case, they will commence all the necessary paperwork, making the client-attorney relationship official. Next comes attempting to resolve your case with the defendant’s insurance carrier after you have finished your medical care and if the insurance company does not wish to resolve your case for a full and fair settlement, next comes filing the lawsuit.
Filing a Complaint With the Court
After establishing the client-attorney relationship, your accident lawyer will take the necessary steps to file a personal injury complaint, which will be physically served on the defendant. From there, the defendant is given time to hire their own legal team and prepare for the first court appearance. The personal injury complaint is the first official legal document in the lawsuit process. It contains the circumstances of the accident, including how the defendant was negligent and the damages you’ve suffered as a result.
Pretrial and Trial
The next major stage in the personal injury lawsuit process is pretrial, which is followed by mediation or a trial. During the pretrial process, the “discovery” phase takes place, which involves both sides exchanging evidence and information, including depositions from both parties, witness statements, expert witness testimonies, and more.
Also, during the pretrial process both sides will appear in front of a judge to agree to or reject mediation. The pretrial phase can take several months due to the intermittent court hearings and scope of evidence collection. Most personal injury cases settle out of court, but some do go to trial.
If your case goes to trial, lawyers will begin to select a jury, set mandatory settlement conferences, debate which pieces of evidence will be allowed at trial, and so forth. Once the trial begins, the process only takes a matter of days. Within a weeks’ time, give or take a few days, the court and jury will decide if and how much the defendant should pay the plaintiff for damages. If the defendant is found liable and ordered to pay, they can choose to appeal, which continues the process for several more months. The defendant’s insurance company will pay any verdict entered against the defendant, up to the insurance policy limits.
Receiving a Settlement
Both parties can agree to a settlement and close the case at any point in the process, even before a complaint is ever filed. There are many factors used to calculate a personal injury settlement.
The attorneys are responsible for preparing and agreeing upon the release document, which sets forth all the terms of the settlement.
Are you looking for skilled personal injury law firm to represent you in your negligence case in Indiana? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys in Indianapolis, Indiana. We also represent injured victims all across the state.