STAGES IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE
There are many different types of personal injury cases such as slip and falls, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice lawsuits, or other forms of negligence and torts. While there are a variety of cases, the basic stages of a personal injury case are very similar. Motor vehicle accident claims are different because they involve the availability of Accident Benefits, which will not be addressed in this article, but some information is available on our website. This article provides an overview of what one can expect in the claims process in a general sense.
THE INITIAL MEETING WITH YOUR LAWYER
During your initial meeting with your personal injury lawyer, you will explain what type of accident you were involved in, what happened, and a description of your injuries and your treatment providers to date. At our law firm we need to know all of your treatment providers so that we can familiarize ourselves with your rehabilitation regime in place, and to see where we can help with the care you need.
At our office, we believe that you deserve the opportunity to first meet with different law firms at no cost, and therefore, we do not charge any fee for our consultation.
You can expect the initial meeting to take approximately 30 minutes to an hour depending on the complexity of your case, and whether you retain our office. Our lawyers will have a number of questions for you so that we know exactly what kind of case we are dealing with and what your needs and wishes are from your lawyer and this process.
If you retain our office, we will ask you to sign a number of authorizations allowing the release of medical information from healthcare providers. We need these medical documents to obtain and produce to the defense. Your injuries are also of paramount concern so that we can help implement the most appropriate treatment plan possible to address your medical concerns.
Our initial meetings generally conclude by outlining what the claims process will entail, what is expected of you as a client, and what you can expect from us, as your lawyers. For instance, it is critical that our clients participate as much as possible in their own recovery. This helps both from a treatment perspective and helps your case at large. If you do not actively participate in your own recovery, it could affect the outcome of your case because the other side may argue that you did not take the appropriate steps to aid in your own recovery. The initial meeting is critical to a swift start of the claims process, and our office encourages any prospective clients to come with any paperwork and questions they may have.
THE NEXT STEPS AND START OF THE COURT PROCESS
Often times, your claim will begin before any formal court documents are filed. This begins by collecting your medical records and engaging in discussions with the other side.
The formal claims process is initiated by filing what is called a “Statement of Claim”, which is a document outlining the facts of the case and what type of compensation is sought. The other side will then reply with a “Statement of Defence” which is there response to your claim, and typically, a denial of some or all of your claim.
If you plan on starting a formal claim, you should consult with a lawyer to ensure that you are positioned properly to win your case and have completed any formal documents properly.
Sometime after the process has started, you can expect to engage in what is called “Discoveries”. This is when the other side gets the opportunity to ask you questions while being formally recorded. You will be accompanied by your lawyer, and our practice is to meet our clients a couple of weeks in advance of this process to outline what exactly to expect. If liability is an issue, your lawyer will also be able to question the defendant or a representative from the other side (and in some cases, more than one party). Discoveries are critical to the process because everyone gets a sense of the strength of your case and the credibility of witnesses.
SETTLEMENT OR TRIAL
The vast majority of personal injury claims settle before they ever hit the court room. This may be done through settlement meetings or mediations. Trial is usually a last resort, but sometimes settlement falls apart for various reasons. If your matter is one of those cases that may go to trial, it is critical to retain the necessary experts to ensure the best possible result in the court room.
CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER TO GET THE REPRESENTATION YOU NEED
If you or a loved on has been injured in a motor vehicle accident or by some other form of negligence, please contact our office for a free no-obligation evaluation of your case.
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