Personal injury claims arise when an individual is injured due to the negligence of another party. Navigating through the complexities of a personal injury claim can be overwhelming, but understanding the key elements and the general process can help ease some of the stress. In this blog, we’ll walk you through what to expect in a personal injury claim, providing you with insights into the various stages and considerations.
Initial Consultation and Investigation:
The journey begins with the injured party seeking legal counsel. During the initial consultation, the attorney will evaluate the merits of the case by gathering information about the incident, assessing the extent of injuries, and determining liability. This phase also involves collecting evidence, speaking to witnesses, and on occasion consulting with experts to evaluate the case.
In some cases, personal injury lawsuits are resolved through settlement negotiations before having to file a lawsuit. At the completion of one’s medical treatment, all of the medical records and bills are gathered. At that time, both parties engage in settlement discussions in an attempt to reach a resolution. Settlements can save time and costs associated with a trial, providing a quicker resolution for the injured party.
Filing the Complaint:
If the parties are unable to settle the case (there can be other reasons for filing suit; for example, if the injured party is still treating and it is near the statute of limitations, a lawsuit will need to be filed to preserve the claim), the next step is filing a lawsuit against the alleged responsible party. The lawsuit, or complaint, outlines the legal grounds for the lawsuit, the damages sought, and the basis for the defendant’s liability. The defendant is then served with the complaint, initiating the legal proceedings.
Discovery is a crucial phase where both parties exchange relevant information, documents, and evidence. This process includes interrogatories, requests for documents, depositions, and any other pertinent information that can help each side understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case. Discovery is essential for building a solid foundation for trial or settlement negotiations.
Most judges in Indiana require mediation prior to going to trial. Mediation is where a neutral third party, typically an attorney with special training, facilitates these processes, assisting the parties in reaching a compromise. Unlike arbitration, neither party is required to settle for a certain amount and the mediator party has no control over what either party decides to do.
If a settlement is not reached, the case proceeds to trial. This phase involves extensive preparation by both legal teams, including refining legal arguments, preparing witnesses, and strategizing trial presentations. The goal is to present a compelling case to the jury.
During the trial, both parties present their cases, witnesses testify, and evidence is examined. The jury evaluates the evidence and arguments to determine liability and assess damages. Trials can be emotionally charged and complex, requiring the expertise of experienced attorneys to navigate the legal intricacies.
Post-Trial Motions and Appeals:
After a verdict is reached, either party may file post-trial motions or appeals if they believe legal errors occurred during the trial. This phase extends the legal process, but it’s essential for ensuring a fair and just outcome.
A personal injury claim is a multifaceted legal process that demands careful navigation. While each case is unique, understanding the general stages and considerations involved can empower individuals to make informed decisions and work collaboratively with their legal representation. Whether resolved through negotiation, mediation, or trial, the ultimate goal is to secure compensation for the injured party and bring a sense of closure to a challenging chapter.
If you or a loved one has been injured and has a personal injury claim, call the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Banks & Brower 24/7 so we can assist you with your situation.