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Step by Step Guide to the Typical Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

By: Anapol Weiss

The personal injury lawsuit process can be confusing, especially for those trying to file a claim that protects their rights while recovering from a life-altering injury. If you’ve been injured due to the actions or inaction of another, you may be due compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. This can provide the financial help you need to recuperate, adapt to an altered lifestyle, and rebuild your life. An experienced personal injury attorney from Anapol Weiss is ready to help guide you through the process and fight for the money you deserve.

Basis for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury cases are a civil matter where one party, the plaintiff, alleges the other party, the defendant, caused them harm. This can be a physical injury or one that affects their mental or emotional health. It may entail damages to property. Every personal injury case is different, but they all start with three basic facts.

  • An Injury Occurred – It is not enough that a situation allowed that an injury might happen. There needs to be an actual injury that resulted in damages.

  • The Injury Occurred Due To The Action Or Inaction Of The Defendant – In the personal injury lawsuit settlement process, a lot of attention will be paid to the chain of events leading to the injury. You will need to show that without the action or inaction of the defendant or their representative, it’s unlikely you would have sustained a personal injury.

  • The Defendant Had A Responsibility To Actively Prevent The Cause Of Your Injury – Finally, as part of the personal injury lawsuit process, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate that they had a reasonable expectation of safety and would not have been injured except for the policies or actions of the defendant or their representatives.

Working With A Personal Injury Attorney

Finding a personal injury attorney who will make your case their cause is vital to a successful personal injury lawsuit settlement process. They’ll help you navigate the timelines involved, advise you on complex legal issues, and negotiate on your behalf with the defendant. If your case goes to court, your lawyer will argue on your behalf, presenting your evidence to create a compelling narrative that gets the court’s attention and leads them to the conclusion that you have a right to compensation.

Starting The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you believe you have a personal injury case, you need to act fast. Personal injury lawsuits have a 2-year statute of limitations, meaning that the initial court filing must be received no later than two years after the incident. While it does not necessarily have to contain every piece of documentation when filed, and can be amended after the fact, it does need to be accurate so it doesn’t harm your case later. In general, the personal injury lawsuit process follows a regular pattern:

  • Filing Your Claim

This begins the legal process of demanding compensation for your injuries. Your attorney will send a demand letter to the defendant and file a claim in court and serve the defendant or their representatives with the complaint. This filing lays out your version of events surrounding the accident, why the defendant is liable, and what compensation you’re seeking.

The defendant will file an answer to the claim. This will offer their version of events, why they shouldn’t be held responsible for the injury, and reasons that damages should not be awarded.

  • Discovery

The discovery phase lets attorneys for both parties exchange evidence, gather statements, and explore evidence avenues they may not have been aware of before. Your lawyer may request documents from the defendant that are related to the accident, ask for answers to questions, or take a deposition from witnesses. Experts in related fields, such as medical or safety specialists, may be consulted. This is the opportunity for both parties to gain a more complete understanding of the full situation surrounding the accident and its aftermath.

  • Motions And Hearings

The personal injury lawsuit process plays out in the courtroom long before a case may go to trial. Your attorney might ask for a summary judgment if the facts of the case leave no room for doubt. The defendant might ask that the case be dismissed for procedural issues, such as lack of jurisdiction. Motions might also be filed to affect the timing of court dates and other matters related to an eventual trial.

  • Negotiations

Throughout the personal injury lawsuit process, settlement negotiations will continue to try to reach an agreement before trial. In a settlement, the plaintiff agrees to release the defendant from liability for their injury in exchange for an acceptable amount of financial compensation. After the trauma of an injury accident and the time and effort invested in filing a claim, it may seem counterintuitive to come to terms before the courts have had a chance to decide, but in many cases, it’s the right option.

A settlement allows you to get a set amount of compensation without risking the court not finding in your favor. The lawyers for both parties will make offers and counter-offers, trying to reach an agreement that is seen as beneficial to both parties. A mediator may even be brought in to help the two sides work through differences. Your attorney will help you understand your options when settlement offers are made so you understand the pros and cons of each situation.

  • The Trial

If negotiations fail to reach a settlement and no pretrial motions cause an early end to the personal injury lawsuit process, your case will end up in court. This could be months after your case was initially filed. During the trial, both sides will make their arguments about the facts surrounding the accident. During this phase, the judge or jury will determine whether or not the defendant was liable for the injury and subsequent damages.

If found liable, the judge or jury will then determine the amount of compensation to award. At this stage, the defendant will argue for mitigating factors to reduce their payout. Your attorney will highlight the effect the injury has had on your life, the real costs you’ve sustained, and emphasize the defendant’s culpability.

  • After The Trial

Once a judgment has been reached, your attorney will work to collect your settlement and make sure you get every cent you’re owed. This includes both the act of collecting the compensation as well as defending your rights against post-trial motions that seek to reduce awarded damages and appeals that may be filed in an attempt to get your judgment reversed.

You can start working with a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer for no money out of pocket. Contact Anapol Weiss for a free initial consultation that looks at the specifics of your case and starts getting you the legal answers you need to make informed decisions about moving through the personal injury lawsuit process. Protect your rights and get the financial help you need to recover today.