If you are hurt in an accident, and a careless individual is to blame, you may have several legal pathways for pursuing compensation. One of those pathways may be to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, filing a lawsuit can seem daunting.
At Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, we want to demystify the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit. When the steps are transparent, and you know what to expect, the legal process doesn’t seem quite as intimidating.
Steps to Take Before Filing a Lawsuit
Have you been involved in an accident? The steps you take in the days and weeks after the incident can have an impact on your potential case. Before you file a personal injury lawsuit, consider taking these steps:
- Seek medical attention
- Collect evidence
- Contact an attorney
- Notify the Insurer
- Stay off social media
- Keep a record of your expenses
Setting the Stage for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can seem overwhelming. However, the support and guidance of a seasoned personal injury attorney from Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC in Chicago can make all the difference. In a nutshell, here is what you can expect from the personal injury lawsuit process:
- Draft a Demand Letter – One of the first steps in the personal injury lawsuit process is drafting a demand letter. A demand letter is sent to the insurer and will contain crucial details about the accident, including how it occurred and information about your injuries. This letter will include information about your medical expenses, the value of your lost wages, and a demand for fair compensation. In conclusion, the letter will outline a timetable for a response.
- Negotiate a Settlement – Once the insurer receives the demand letter and responds, negotiations may begin. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf for a fair settlement that accounts for your financial losses. Make sure you consult an attorney before speaking with the insurance adjusters.
- Prepare a Case for Court If Necessary – Unfortunately, not all insurers will negotiate in good faith. These for-profit businesses may not be willing to part with a large sum of money, even if it’s what you deserve. When negotiations break down, it will be up to you and your attorney to determine whether a lawsuit is the best avenue for recovering compensation for your injuries.
If you proceed with filing a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will file the necessary paperwork to make your intention known.
- Discovery – Once your attorney files the proper paperwork, the real work begins. Discovery is one of the most time-consuming and labor-intense periods of the personal injury lawsuit process. During the discovery phase, each side can seek evidence and testimony to support their case. Depositions, or interviews under oath, may be requested to gain clarity and insight into the circumstances of the accident. Additionally, the other party’s attorney may request that you undergo an independent medical evaluation to assess the extent of your injuries.
- Mediation – Once both sides have collected the information they require, your case may enter mediation. Mediation is a process meant to circumvent the courtroom and help both sides reach a mutual agreement or settlement. A mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates communication between the parties to solve a dispute. Many personal injury cases are settled in mediation and do not ever reach trial.
- Settlement – Depending on the strength of your case, the other side may wish to settle. If the terms are agreeable to you and your attorney, the opposing party will generally ask you to sign a release stipulating that you accept the settlement offer, rendering you unable to seek further compensation from them in the future.
- Trial – Unable to reach a fair settlement? Then your case will be headed to court. Each side gets the opportunity to argue its case. Finally, a judge or jury decides the outcome based on each side’s arguments and the strength of the evidence.
- Appeal – Even if you win your case, be prepared. The opposing side may wish to appeal the decision and ask a higher court to review the ruling.
If you win your case and the other side does not appeal, it can still take time to distribute your monetary award. Your attorney will need to pay anyone with a legal claim to the money, or lien, such as medical providers. Once liens are satisfied and your attorney collects their compensation, you will receive a check.
Contact A Personal Injury Attorney From Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC
The legal team at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can help you prepare for what’s ahead and walk you through all the steps of your personal injury lawsuit.