How to File a Personal Injury Claim and Lawsuit
Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022 at 6:18 pm
While personal injury lawsuits are not rare, most people do not file more than one in their lives. This means that the majority of people do not have a full understanding of how personal injury claims and lawsuits work.
Personal injury lawsuits are civil actions that are separate from any criminal charges that might be associated with your accident. Nevertheless, filing a lawsuit is a complicated procedure, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the process. Fortunately, if you have recently experienced an injury due to another party’s recklessness or negligence, an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney from Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. will be capable of handling everything you will need.
Knowing what steps are involved in a personal injury lawsuit can put you at ease by dispelling some of the mystery around the process.
Step One – Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Sometimes, injured accident victims are tempted to represent themselves in a personal injury claim. However, in addition to the legal complexities involved in the process, there are often many points at which the at-fault party, their insurance agent, or their attorneys will attempt to get you to admit that you were somehow responsible for the accident yourself.
If anyone approaches you or makes a “courtesy call” to discuss your injury with you, simply tell them that you will not be making any statements without a lawyer present. Once you have a skillful Georgia personal injury attorney on your side, they will deal with insurance adjusters for you and work toward recovering the full and fair amount you deserve.
When you have your first consultation with your attorney, be prepared to explain all the details of your accident. It will be particularly helpful to bring along the following to your consultation:
- Photos of your accident (but never post these on social media!)
- Medical bills related to your injury
- Police report from your accident
- A report of injury if the accident occurred on someone else’s premises
- Employment and income documentation to help determine lost wages
- A list of physical or psychological limitations you have experienced since the accident
This will allow the attorney to give you a rough idea of what financial compensation you may be able to pursue for your injuries.
Step Two – File a Claim with the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
Although insurance companies usually don’t have hard and fast deadlines for when a claim must be filed, the insurance policies often say “promptly.” Even before the accident investigation has begun, you and your attorney should file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Contact a personal injury lawyer from Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. immediately for a free consultation about your case to get an expert’s opinion and help.
Step Three – Investigate the Accident
After your consultation, your attorney will conduct a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident. This will include:
- Collecting statements from those who witnessed your accident
- Checking security footage
- Consulting expert witnesses who can help explain how your injuries occurred because of the accident you experienced
Step Four – Issue a Demand for Compensation
Your personal injury attorney will then work with you to determine an appropriate value for your claim. Then they’ll issue a demand for compensation with the insurance company of the responsible party. This may involve a single demand if the accident was straightforward or multiple demands if there were more than one responsible party.
Your attorney will compile a demand package that outlines everything the insurance company needs to know about your case, such as:
- Information and photos relating to your injury
- Evidence collected from the accident that proves who is responsible
- Medical records and documentation
- Information about your missed work and lost wages due to your injuries
- An outline of the physical pain and suffering your injuries have caused you
Step Four – Negotiate
After your lawyer issues the demand on your behalf, the insurance company may reply immediately with a settlement offer. At this point, you and your attorney will carefully review this offer to determine whether it is fair compensation for the injuries you have suffered. If so, you can accept the offer, and you will soon receive the funds.
If the initial settlement offer is unsatisfactory, your lawyer will then begin the negotiation process. This may involve going back and forth several times. If you eventually reach an agreement, this is where the claim process ends. You receive the funds you deserve.
Step Five – Go to Court
If the negotiations do not end with a satisfactory settlement, your lawyer will create a court case on your behalf. This involves:
- Filing a Complaint in court – The Complaint initiates the legal action. Your lawyer will file one in court and have a copy of the Complaint and a Summons served on the at-fault party.
- Discovery phase – Both sides can collect more information about your claim.
- Mediation – In the mediation phase, both sides and their counsel will have an opportunity to work with a mediator to determine whether an agreement can be struck. If this fails, the trial will begin.
- Personal injury trial – When you take your case to trial, you will take your claim directly before a judge, if it’s a bench trial, or a jury. The judge or jury will issue a final ruling in the case.
The whole process may take a while, but it is important to get started on your personal injury case as soon as possible, to give yourself the best chance for receiving the most compensation possible for your claim.
Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a complicated process, but the Georgia personal injury lawyers of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. are here to help. We will be with you every step of the way to make sure that you have every opportunity to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (770) 205-8827 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.