The Anatomy of a Personal Injury Lawsuit: What to Expect
Do you know what to do when you sustain an injury caused by someone else’s negligence? Unfortunately, situations occur all the time that leave people harmed, but not everyone truly recognizes their rights and what they can do to move forward.
They often fail to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party simply because they are unsure of what to expect and what rights they may have. As such, they go on after the injury, experiencing the physical, emotional, and financial hardships that are often associated with the injuries.
For many, understanding the legal aspects of a personal injury lawsuit and having knowledge of what to expect can go a long way. Here are some of the things that may occur and ways you can ensure you’re prepared if you decide to take legal action against a negligent party.
The Start of Filing a Lawsuit
In the event that the negligent party’s insurance company fails to accept liability for your injury, you may file a personal injury lawsuit to seek the damages rightfully owed to you. This often means speaking with a lawyer to have the correct paperwork filed and in a timely manner.
The papers are served to the defendant responsible for the injury and his or her insurance company. If the insurance company files a motion to dismiss, they are looking to get out of the situation without paying out damages. However, with accurate documents and the right evidence, the case may move forward effectively.
What Is Discovery?
During discovery, there are four key actions that may take place, including interrogatories, request for productions, request for admission, and depositions. This is a time when both legal parties will attempt to learn as much about the situation as possible.
For instance, interrogatories give the parties an opportunity to ask written questions to build facts regarding the situation. A request for production can mean asking for evidence such as medical records. All of these steps work together and play a role in giving a clearer picture of what may have happened and how an injury may have been caused.
When the Insurance Company Makes a Settlement Offer
Despite initially denying your claim, the insurance company may determine after the discovery process that their policyholder holds a specific amount of liability. As such, they may offer you a settlement in lieu of proceeding with a potential trial to cover your damages.
However, these settlement offers may be less than you actually deserve for your injuries. During this part of the process, you can either accept the settlement if you feel it is adequate, counter the offer, or deny it and go to trial.
It’s important to understand why settlements are offered and what it means for the insurance company:
- Settlements cost the insurance company less because they control the outcome and there are no legal fees.
- The insurance company may try to offer a lower settlement, claiming that you had some involvement in causing the crash and don’t deserve the full amount requested.
- Settlements mean that the insurance company gets away with paying out as little as possible, regardless of the amount of liability their policyholder holds.
Going to Trial
If a settlement cannot be reached, a trial may be necessary. Many personal injury cases don’t make it to this phase simply because of how arduous and long-winded this process can be.
Trial often means more expenses, but it gives the injured person an opportunity to present their damages to impartial jurors, potentially convincing the jury to side in their favor and issue a verdict for compensation far exceeding the amount offered in settlement.
It’s important to note, however, that these matters involve large insurance companies with equally large legal teams. Their primary focus is limiting their own liability, protecting their profit, and paying out as little as possible. You should have someone on your side dedicated to your best interests.
The Experienced Advocates You Deserve
At Templeton Smithee Hayes Heinrich & Russell, LLP, Board Certified trial specialists, Brian Heinrich and David Russell, have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide injured individuals through the complex legal matters following a negligent act. We work hard to represent our clients in a manner that focuses on helping them achieve the most favorable outcome possible.
We always aim to go the extra mile for our clients because we know how important it is for them to receive what they deserve. You can trust that we are trial ready and prepared to do whatever it takes to protect your rights.
Call our firm today at (806) 397-0300 to discuss your potential case in a free consultation with a committed attorney. We represent clients throughout Texas and eastern New Mexico.