Do you have an injury that is worth pursuing compensation for in court? You'll need to work closely with an injury lawyer for this process to ensure it goes smoothly. Here is what you can expect when working with a personal injury lawyer on your case:
It all starts with a consultation. This is when you meet with a lawyer to discuss your injury case, and they decide if they want to be your lawyer to help you fight it in court. Injury cases are one instance where you need to find a lawyer that is willing to work with you, since they often only charge in situations where they win the case for you. They are not going to take on cases where it is clear that you cannot win as the plaintiff.
Your lawyer will get the ball rolling with all of the paperwork that needs to be filed to start the personal injury claim. They'll be working against any time limits due to the statute of limitations on your injury, so they'll want to act fast.
The discovery process is when your lawyer starts actually gathering the evidence for your injury claim to help build your case. They'll start by requesting the official police report regarding the accident, talk to any witnesses that saw the accident happen, and look at your medical records regarding the injury itself.
The Settlement Negotiation
Most personal injury cases never see a day in court, since they are typically settled in mediation. The goal will be to try to negotiate a favorable settlement from the defendant that covers your current and future medical bills. If your lawyer has built up a solid case in discovery, the process would end here with favorable results.
An injury claim will go to trial when neither side can come to an agreement on a settlement. Keep in mind that the defendant can still agree to a settlement during a trial, but in most situations the final verdict will be decided on by a judge or jury.
Any settlement that is awarded to you may be done in a large lump sum or awarded in smaller installments over a period of time. When factoring in the entire process from start to finish, it could take a few years to reach the point where you are actually cashing settlement checks and putting them in your bank account.