Personal Injury Claims Process: Here’s What You Need to Know
The personal injury claims process can seem daunting. As personal injury lawyers, we’re committed to helping our clients receive great legal representation when they’re injured.
Part of helping our clients is explaining the legal process and what to expect in the road ahead. Here’s what you need to know about the personal injury claims process.
10 Things to Know About the Personal Injury Claims Process
1. You must file a claim to get personal injury compensation
To receive compensation for a personal injury, you must take steps to claim it. Usually, that means filing a formal legal claim, but it can also mean negotiating payment through an insurance company. Either way, it’s up to you to take the right steps to claim compensation. There are time deadlines, and the victim must file the claim before the deadline expires in their case.
2. There are procedural requirements to filing a personal injury claim
There are rules for how to go about filing a claim. There are certain documents that need to be filed. There are specific ways that these documents need to be prepared.
When these documents are accurate and precise, it makes the claims process easier. It can build your claim from the beginning. But mistakes in the procedural requirements can make it harder to pursue your case. It can even result in dismissal of the claim. There are rules to follow from the time you start the claim all the way to trial and resolution of the case.
3. Discovery can help you get information and narrow the issues for trial
Any personal injury claim is going to involve something called discovery. Discovery allows the parties to exchange information. They can learn about the other side’s evidence and the issues that are contested.
Discovery can take many forms – depositions under oath, exchange of documents and identification of witnesses just to name a few. Part of how your attorney represents you is compiling your information for discovery and determining what to ask for from the other side. Discovery can be an extremely helpful tool for a personal injury plaintiff. It can narrow the issues for trial and help you determine a fair settlement amount.
4. Expect periodic court hearings
You trial date is probably not going to be your first court appearance. The process of a personal injury case involves preliminary hearings, settlement conferences and motion hearings. These preliminary hearings are critical to getting a fair result for your claim.
Our lawyers can build a case strategy that may involve filing preliminary motions. We know how to notice and conduct these hearings, as well as respond to motions from the other side. We make sure you understand what to except at each court date.
5. It’s up to the victim to prove the case
As the victim, you have the burden of proof. You must prove your right to compensation and each element of the claim including causation of your injuries and damages. Gathering proof of each element and responding to the other side is a crucial part of the personal injury claims process.
6. Most claims don’t go to trial
Only a small percentage of personal injury claims go to trial. Although a trial is possible, most claims reach a resolution without one. But that’s no accident – it’s the result of building a strong claim on your behalf and working to negotiate the appropriate resolution.
7. You decide whether to accept a settlement
If not going to trial disappoints you, remember that it’s your choice whether to accept a settlement or take your case to trial. Our lawyers build a strong case and negotiate on your behalf. We aim to put you in the best position to make the right choice – for you. You have the right to a trial. You don’t have to accept a settlement, and you can have your day in court.
8. Trial is an adversarial proceeding
If you choose to have a trial, there are rules that govern the process. It’s important to understand the various stages of trial and how to use each stage to your advantage. For example, you can question jurors to ensure that they are not biased and qualified to serve. The opening and closing statements are a critical part of explaining the case to the jury and making arguments.
There are rules for presenting information, objecting to actions of the other party and questioning witnesses. You must know how to request jury instructions so that the jury is given the right guidance for deciding the case. Knowing how to navigate these rules can ensure that you have a fair trial.
9. There is an appeals process
Either party can appeal various decisions and rulings that may have impacted the outcome of the case. There is an appeals process where higher courts review what happened at trial or even before trial.
Winning an appeal begins long before you even file the appeal. It’s important to diligently preserve objections and make a record in the lower court so that the appeals court can understand the issues. Our lawyers can help you understand if an appeal is right for you and what to expect in the process.
10. Once your case is over, it’s final
You get only one opportunity to get justice in a personal injury case. Once you accept a settlement or exhaust your appeals following trial, it’s hard to go back and try again, even if circumstances change. There may be proceedings to enforce a judgment or clarify minor issues, but for the most part, the outcome is final. It’s important to get the process right – because you have only one chance to get justice for your personal injury claim.
Lawyers for the Personal Injury Claims Process
At LA Century Law, we’re injury attorneys committed to your recovery. We’re experienced trial lawyers – and we’re proud of our reputation as outstanding counselors and guides through the personal injury claims process.
We customize a plan for your case. Along the way, we make sure you know what to expect so that you feel confident and prepared.
If you’ve been hurt in a personal injury accident, we invite you to meet with our team at LA Century Law to learn more about the claims process and how we can help you. Call or message us today.