There are no two personal injury cases that are exactly the same due to all the different factors that go into them. Everything from who was hurt, how the accident happened, the damages owed, applicable liability laws, and more all change the way a claim or lawsuit looks. Yet, as our team from Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers in Shreveport can explain, most personal injury cases will follow a predictable path of steps that we call The Road to a Personal Injury Case.
The nine “landmarks” along The Road to a Personal Injury case are:
- Victim injured: Perhaps to no surprise, a personal injury case starts with someone suffering a physical injury, usually in an accident but sometimes due to the malicious intent of a bad actor. There are also some civil claims that involve demanding compensation for a nonphysical injury, like emotional trauma or the destruction of someone’s reputation. For the purpose of this “roadmap,” we will focus on cases originating from a physical injury, which are the majority of case types.
- Medical treatment: After the dust of an accident settles, all injured parties should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. For severe injuries, emergency medical technicians may use an ambulance to take the injured victim to the emergency room. When injuries are moderate or not life-threatening, the victim may elect to take themselves to urgent care the same day. Although, it is advised to always heed to the instructions of EMTs that show up to an accident site, and they will likely want to use an ambulance.
- Hire an attorney: Shortly after receiving initial medical care and being stabilized, an accident victim should talk to a personal injury attorney. Taking this step quickly allows the victim to report details of the accident while it is still fresh in their mind. If the victim is too injured to make the call, then a family member should call an attorney on their behalf and let them know what happened as best they can. Early attorney involvement also helps preserve evidence from the scene of the accident that might have been discarded otherwise.
- Investigate: The first thing an attorney will want to do is investigate the accident however they can and with the help of experts as needed. For example, after a car accident, our attorneys of Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers will sometimes call an accident reconstruction expert who is a specialist in piecing together evidence from around a crash site to figure out exactly what happened and why.
- File a claim: When the legal team representing the victim is satisfied with the evidence they have found through investigation, they will use that information and other sources to calculate the victim’s damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With the damages calculated, they can file a claim against the liable party or parties.
- Begin lawsuit: Usually after a claim is filed, the insurance company representing the defendant will deny all liability by default, prompting the beginning of a lawsuit. Although a personal injury lawsuit might sound intimidating, it is nothing the victim should fear as long as they can trust in the ability of their attorney.
- Discovery: The legal process of examining evidence collected by the opposition and what they intend to bring to trial is called discovery. During this step, your attorney will see if any of the opposition’s evidence actually works in your favor or if it should change the approach of their argument.
- Mediation: With discovery completed, it is common for the defending insurance company to request mediation to settle the claim. Mediation is a confidential legal process that allows open negotiation among all involved parties, and it can include resolutions that a judge or jury might never consider. Insurance companies tend to like mediation because it keeps the information about the victim’s accident out of the public, which might be important for a company focused on preserving their good name.
- Trial: If mediation does not conclude with the victim being offered a fair settlement, then the victim’s legal counsel will most likely advise they progress to a trial. Depending on the court handling the case and the amount of damages in dispute, a judge might rule on a personal injury lawsuit, or it could be concluded with a jury verdict. Typically, cases that require a personal injury lawyer’s representation also require a jury’s deliberation if those cases reach the trial phase. Keep in mind that both the plaintiff and the defendant in a personal injury case can try to appeal the verdict if it ends out of their favor.
Experience, Resources & Compassion – That’s Our Way
The Road to a Personal Injury Case is never promised to be an easy one, but, with the help of Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, you can prepare for all its twists, turns, and speedbumps. We are among the top-rated Shreveport injury attorneys due to the sheer number of cases we have successfully taken to trial, the extents of our resources and experience, and the way we focus intently on client satisfaction. To get a better idea of what a truly reputable law firm can do for you after you have been in an accident, please do not hesitate to call us at (318) 221-1508 and schedule a free, confidential case consultation.