How Does The Personal Injury Claims Process Work?
Many clients who contact an attorney about an accident have questions and concerns about the legal process they are about to undertake. Filing a legal claim after an accident is complex. Depending on the nature of your claim, a variety of rules, deadlines and laws may affect your case. In the midst of this process, victims are often struggling to recover from serious injuries.
At Arye, Lustig & Sassower, P.C., our New York attorneys are familiar with the personal injury claims process. We have handled serious personal injury claims, including construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidents, for decades. We can assess whether a personal injury claim is appropriate in your case and explain each step of the process.
Your First Steps
If you have been injured in an accident, your first steps will be to report the accident and to obtain medical care. That’s true whether you have been injured in a construction site accident and need to notify your supervisor, or in a car accident and need to notify the appropriate insurance company. On your initial report, it is very important to describe accurately how your accident occurred and to state all of your injuries. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. An attorney can help you avoid saying something that is inaccurate.
You should also begin collecting evidence, including photographs of the accident site, contact information for witnesses and other useful information.
Working With An Attorney
A personal injury attorney will assess your case to determine whether you have a claim for damages. An experienced legal team will evaluate your medical files and may visit the accident site or work with an accident reconstructionist to assess your claim. He or she will also evaluate your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and property damage.
Your lawyer can assess your case to determine whether you have a claim, how much it may be worth and the best strategy for proceeding.
Filing A Personal Injury Claim
Your lawyer must be aware of deadlines and statutes of limitations for filing legal claims. Some cases involving city or state governments require a Notice of Claim to be filed within a certain time period, often as soon as 90 days.
Most claims for accidents or injuries do not reach a court trial. Your attorney will negotiate a settlement with the person or entity that caused the accident — or with the insurance company responsible for paying the claim. In some cases, this settlement may be reached without ever filing a lawsuit. In many others, your attorney must file a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
Some cases will require a trial. Since we cannot know in advance whether any case will be able to be settled without a trial, or whether a trial will be necessary, we prepare all of our cases as if they will go to trial. We believe that helps us to obtain better settlements for our clients, as well as better jury verdicts if a trial is required.
The Litigation Process
Your attorney will file a complaint with the court to initiate the lawsuit. The court will issue a summons to the defendant or defendants in the case. As the case proceeds, both sides will interview witnesses, request documents and take part in other activities called discovery. A settlement may be reached during negotiations or pretrial hearings. If a case cannot be fairly settled, your case may proceed to trial.
The length of time and specific process will depend on the type of accident, the defendants involved and the facts of the case. Some cases settle quickly, while others require lengthy litigation to resolve.
Still Have Questions? Contact Us Today.
Our attorneys can protect your rights and help you pursue the money damages you need. Call 800-574-4LAW or contact us online.