Personal injury cases vary widely. Some end relatively quickly; others require intensive negotiations with the responsible party’s insurance company. Sometimes, you can get compensation via a settlement; other times, you may need to go to trial. No matter how your case goes, an attorney may be able to help you with the entire process. Below is a list of 8 steps handled by a personal injury lawyer in a case: Please contact our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer for your more legal help.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Case
Unlike most steps in a personal injury case, this one is handled by an intake specialist rather than a lawyer. When you call a law firm, the specialist can typically listen to your story, answer your questions, and discuss your legal options. This case evaluation is generally provided at no cost and no obligation; you can accept the evaluation without hiring a lawyer from that firm—or any lawyer at all.
Step 2: Launch an Investigation
An independent investigation may serve several purposes. It may help your lawyer understand your case better, prove that you were injured, or identify how the responsible party caused your injuries. Potential sources of evidence include:
- Medical records
- Relevant photos
- Witness statements
- Witness photos or video
- Police reports
- Surveillance footage
Step 3: List and Quantify Damages
When a victim claims personal injury, they generally must be able to describe how their injuries impacted their life and the monetary “worth” of each injury. This may involve
“converting” your injuries into dollar amounts and navigating any state laws that may dictate your ability to pursue damages. A lawyer can be a big help when it comes to organizing this list and suggesting recoverable dollar amounts.
Step 4: Communicate with the Liable Party
Your lawyer may be able to handle all communications regarding your case with the responsible party and their insurance company. This can include communications before and during the settlement negotiation process.
Step 5: File Your Insurance Claim or Lawsuit (and All Other Paperwork)
Once they have assembled all evidence, your lawyer can file your insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. It is important to do this before the statute of limitations—a law limiting how much time accident victims have to seek compensation. Your lawyer can also take care of any other necessary paperwork, such as submitting evidence to a judge. Filing paperwork may be more complicated than it sounds: you generally must take care to select the proper form, fill it out completely and accurately, send it to all appropriate parties, and meet all relevant deadlines.
Step 6: Negotiate
Assuming that the liable party carried insurance, you may be seeking compensation from the insurance company, not directly from the liable party. Your lawyer can represent you at all meetings with the insurance company. At no point do you have to meet with or talk to them yourself.
If the insurance company offers what you want right away, there is no need for negotiations. In many cases, however, negotiations are necessary. Your lawyer may use the evidence they collected to back up your claims.
If the insurance company makes you a settlement offer, your lawyer will present it to you, and you will have the authority to decide whether or not to accept it.
Step 7: Prepare for Trial
In some cases, the insurance company may refuse to negotiate or offer a fair settlement. Your lawyer may then begin the necessary preparations to take your case to court—for example, scheduling trial dates, locating witnesses to testify on your behalf, or filing motions. Motions in personal injury cases may include filing for summary judgment, which may end the case quickly in your favor without the need for a trial.
Step 8: Go to Trial
At the trial, your lawyer may employ many tactics to try to persuade a judge or jury to rule in your favor. For example, the car accident trial process may involve:
- Submitting evidence to the court
- Examining and cross-examining witnesses on the stand
- Delivering opening and closing arguments
The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato May Be Able to Help You If you are seeking a personal injury lawyer in South Florida, the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato may be able to help you. Our firm can provide you with honest, responsive legal service that goes far beyond the above-mentioned 8 steps handled by a personal injury lawyer in a case. You can also contact our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney for handling your case.