It can be difficult to imagine the possibility of getting your life back to normal again when you are suffering from the effects of a car accident. As if dealing with injuries are not enough, you are dealing with an accident that was caused by a careless driver. Pondering the end game when you are going through the personal injury process might be easier if you knew what to expect, so read on to learn more about the steps you'll take to find personal injury success.
1. Meet your new legal advocate: Don't waste time when it comes to contacting a personal injury attorney. If you've missed work because of the accident, funds could be low. Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys work on what is known as a contingency fee basis. This means no up-front money is required from you to get the ball rolling on your case. Speaking of getting the ball rolling, you can give your case a big positive push forward by showing up at your first attorney-client appointment armed with all the information your attorney is likely to need, like:
- The accident or police report, which should include the names and contact information for all parties.
- You and the other driver's insurance information.
- A list of all medical treatments you've undergone, so far.
- Pay stubs or statements and a summary of missed work.
- Estimates of repair or replacement for your vehicle.
2. Ask for what you deserve: Once your attorney has a full picture of the situation, expect an important letter to be sent to the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver. This letter will summarize who was at fault and why, what your damages are, so far, and what you are demanding to be paid to settle this claim outside of court. This letter is known as the demand letter or letter of demand.
3. File a lawsuit against the other driver: Once a suit is filed, the pretrial portion of the process begins. The discovery process allows both sides to share information about the case, and it will include interrogatories (questionnaires) and the deposition. The deposition calls for sworn testimony and can result in a settlement offer. In fact, most personal injury cases are settled outside of court.
4. Prepare for your day in court: If your case has not settled, you will eventually find yourself in court. You should be prepared to play more of the waiting game that you have undoubtedly become familiar with during this process, since court cases are often derailed and delayed by continuances, postponements, hearings and other distractions. Though a settlement offer could still come at any time, the court trial will soon come to a close and a verdict will be rendered. If you are successful, you can expect to be paid shortly thereafter.
To learn more about this process, speak to a personal injury attorney through firms like Hardee and Hardee LLP.