If you've been injured in an accident, the sooner you begin to progress toward compensation, the faster you will find hope. A car wreck can disrupt your work life, your health, your emotional well-being, and your family life, and you deserve to be compensated for those damages. It might help to think of your efforts to get compensation as a series of positive milestones. Read on to learn more.
Meet Your Personal Injury Partner
You and your new personal injury attorney are a team, and your part is no less important. Make sure you provide your attorney with what's needed to get started quickly on your case. Bring as many of the following that you can with you for your first appointment:
- Insurance information for you and the other party
- Contact information for all parties
- The accident or police report from the accident
- A summary of your medical treatments so far
- An estimate of a vehicle repair or replacement
- A pay stub or tax return to evaluate your lost wages
One thing you won't need to bring is money; your personal injury attorney likely works on a contingency-fee basis.
Send a Demand Letter
This letter is sent before you actually file suit in the hopes that you can state your case and get offered a settlement outside of court. The letter itself contains the crux of your case: why you are not at fault, how you intend to prove that and the dollar amount you are demanding. This action can open the door for negotiations resulting in a quick and satisfying offer, but if not, you will proceed to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Once you have filed suit, the pretrial actions begin, and this phase involves discovery. This is where each side "discovers" facts about the case from the other side, which helps them to prepare for trial. One major part of discovery is the deposition, a meeting where all parties are questioned under oath about the accident. Once the other sides sees the facts of your case, there may be yet another golden opportunity for a settlement offer. Other actions during discovery include answering questionnaires and document requests.
Most people have seen how trials proceed on television, but in real life they can be somewhat boring. In many cases, the actual proceedings are held up by motions and hearings about routine matters. Your part may be brief, and you will be well-prepared by your attorney to give an accurate and convincing testimony about the accident and how it has affected your life. It should be noted that a settlement offer can still come after a trial begins, and actually the vast majority of cases settle that way.
No matter how your case proceeds or its success, speak to your personal injury lawyer about these important milestones in your case.