If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may consider filing a personal injury claim. It can be intimidating to think about the process, but understanding a little bit more about how it works can help ease your anxiety. Keep reading for an overview of what to expect.
Accident or Injury Occurs
This is the starting point of a personal injury claim. You can recover compensation when an accident or injury occurs due to another’s negligence and you experience injuries and financial losses. The most common types of accidents include car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, defective products, and wrongful deaths.
This could also include work injuries, which are slightly different in that they typically require a workers’ compensation claim instead of a personal injury claim.
Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, it is critical to seek medical attention immediately. This helps document your injuries and provide evidence for your claim. Even if you think you are not hurt at first, getting checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after an accident is a best practice.
Consult an Attorney
After seeking medical attention, speak with a Chicago personal injury lawyer who specializes in whatever type of claim you need to pursue. They can help you figure out your next steps and will give you the best chance of a successful outcome.
An experienced lawyer will ensure that you submit all the correct paperwork by the necessary deadline so that you don’t miss out on what you’re entitled to. They can also help you calculate your damages and provide advice on how to move forward.
Investigates Claim and Medical Records
Once you’ve hired an attorney, they will investigate your claim by gathering all relevant documents and evidence related to your case. This commonly includes police reports, witness statements, photos/videos taken at the time of the incident, and medical records.
File an Insurance Claim
Your lawyer will then file an insurance claim against the responsible party’s insurance company with all supporting evidence. The goal is to get the compensation you deserve through a settlement so that you don’t have to take the case to trial.
Settlements are quicker, less expensive, and less stressful than lawsuits for all parties involved; it’s in everyone’s best interest to resolve the case at this stage.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Insurance companies are ultimately for-profit businesses whose goal is to pay out as little money as possible. As a result, they may not be willing to pay you a fair settlement.
Lawsuit Is Filed
If the parties cannot agree to terms through negotiations, your attorney may file a lawsuit. This doesn’t mean your lawyer can’t continue trying to negotiate throughout the process, but it means it’s time to buckle down and prepare for litigation.
During the discovery phase, each side will be given access to information gathered by the opposing party during its investigations – such as witness testimonies, expert opinions, medical records, and anything relevant to the case.
Both parties are also obligated to disclose any additional information related to their claims, which could affect the outcome of trial proceedings. This phase could also include interrogatories or depositions.
If negotiations fail during pre-trial proceedings, your attorney may try again to get the defendant to offer a fair settlement. This can be done through the mediation process. Here, a third party will act as a mediator and try to facilitate a settlement before the case goes to trial. The mediator is a neutral party with no vested interest in the outcome of the claim.
If all other options have failed, it will be time to take your case to trial. Your lawyer will present your case to the judge and jury and try to convince them that you are entitled to compensation. To do this, your attorney must prove that the defendant was at fault for the accident and your injuries and that you suffered damages.
Witnesses will testify, and evidence will be presented. At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will return a verdict, and you will have your answer about whether you will receive the compensation needed to cover your losses.
A Skilled Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Can Make All the Difference
The timeline described above provides insight into the key steps involved in the timeline of a personal injury case. While there can be many complexities in personal injury claims, understanding the basic steps to ensure a fair resolution can help you know what to expect.
Ultimately, having qualified legal representation from a Chicago personal injury attorney is key and gives you the best chance at success. If you need help with any type of personal injury claim, we can help. Contact Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation online or give us a call at (312) 929-2884.