Personal injury matters arise when individuals and entities behave in a negligent, careless, or reckless manner, and individuals suffer bodily injuries as a result. After filing a personal injury insurance claim, typically with the at-fault party’s insurance company, your case may settle. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer fair monetary damages, your personal injury lawyer may need to file a lawsuit and begin the litigation process.
During litigation, the defense attorney will typically request a deposition from the accident victim. Specific steps will follow a deposition, and your matter may ultimately go to a jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.
One of the most fundamental ways to streamline the litigation process in your case is to have skilled legal counsel on board, advocating for you at every stage. Your lawyer can be present with you at your discovery deposition and during all legal proceedings, aggressively fighting for your legal interests and pursuing the maximum monetary damages you deserve to recover.
Because of the statute of limitations, accident victims have only a short window to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages. Therefore, the sooner you retain a skilled attorney to represent you in your case, the better your chances of attaining a favorable economic recovery.
Your attorney can also answer all your legal questions during every stage of the settlement and litigation processes and work to maximize your total monetary award.
Common Occurrences That Lead to a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
Personal injury claims and lawsuits happen when others behave carelessly and negligently. In a nutshell, negligence serves as the overall basis for any personal injury claim or lawsuit.
An individual or entity behaves negligently when their actions or inactions are unreasonable. In some situations, a party is negligent when they fail to act in a way that a hypothetical reasonable person should have acted in the same scenario. Alternatively, a party is negligent when undertaking activities or exhibiting behaviors that a hypothetical reasonable person should not have exhibited in the same situation.
When individuals and entities behave negligently, several types of accidents may happen, including:
- Premises accidents, like slip and falls
- Negligent security incidents
- Medical negligence and malpractice
- Defective product malfunctions
- Car and truck crashes
- Bicycle and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Workplace accidents that a third party other than your employer causes.
To recover monetary compensation for injuries you suffered in any of these accidents via a personal injury settlement or lawsuit, you must satisfy several legal elements.
First, you must demonstrate that the other party owed you some legal duty of care they subsequently violated. For example, in a slip and fall accident, a property owner or manager has a duty to keep the property reasonably safe for visitors and customers to prevent injuries.
Next, you must show that the accident occurred because of the at-fault party’s negligent action or inaction. The above-mentioned property owner might have allowed hazards to persist that caused you to slip and fall. Finally, you must demonstrate that as a direct result of the accident, you suffered at least one physical injury.
When proving these legal elements, a personal injury attorney can be an invaluable help. Your lawyer for personal injury can retain an expert accident reconstructionist who can go to the incident scene, speak with witnesses, review police reports, and decide how the accident likely happened, including the cause of the accident.
In addition, a medical expert can provide a favorable medical report or offer eyewitness testimony in your case. Medical experts can be helpful when it comes to establishing the causal relationship between the accident and your injuries. Medical experts can also testify that your accident-related injury or injuries are permanent.
A personal injury attorney in your area can help you meet your legal obligations and pursue the highest amount of monetary recovery available for your accident-related injuries.
Injuries in an Accident That Deserve Monetary Compensation
Victims of accidents that result from negligence often find themselves in need of ongoing medical attention. An injured accident victim may need to follow up with their primary care doctor, undergo hospitalization and medical procedures (including surgeries), or attend physical therapy or pain management sessions. All of this medical treatment can be costly and may lead to mounting medical bills over time.
Since every accident scenario is different, not all accident victims will suffer the same injuries and recover the same monetary compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
In fact, the injuries that an accident victim suffers typically depend on the exact circumstances of the accident, the amount of force involved, the body part or parts where the accident victim sustained injuries, the overall scope of the accident victim’s medical treatment, and the cost of that medical treatment.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims sustain include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries, bruises
- Open lacerations that require stitches
- Rib fractures
- Other broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal injuries and paralysis
If you suffered any of these injuries in your accident, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can begin working on the legal components of your case while you finish your treatment regimen and attempt to recover from your injuries. After your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can explore your options with you and help you determine whether you should pursue a personal injury claim or go ahead and file a lawsuit in the court system, seeking monetary damages for your losses.
Prerequisites to Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Before you file a personal injury lawsuit in your case, most attorneys will pursue monetary compensation through the insurance claim process. Following many types of accidents and injuries, your attorney can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
However, if you suffered your injuries in a car accident resulting from another driver’s negligence, you will typically turn to your own insurance company for no-fault benefits. If you suffered certain permanent injuries or your losses exceed the amount of your no-fault coverage, you may pursue a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Regardless of the insurance company your lawyer must deal with, you can settle your case out of court by filing a personal injury claim. To help you recover monetary compensation, your attorney can submit a settlement demand letter to the insurance company with a formal demand for the specific monetary compensation you need within the available policy limits.
In addition, your attorney can submit important documents that the insurance company adjuster may consider when evaluating your case, including investigation documents, witness statements, medical treatment records, bills, photographs of the incident scene, photographs of visible injuries, and a personal statement you prepare.
After submitting a settlement demand package, your lawyer can negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf and pursue a fair settlement offer from the adjuster. Negotiations in car accident cases sometimes take a significant amount of time.
Insurance companies are usually not in a hurry to resolve personal injury claims and will likely offer as little monetary compensation as possible initially. Insurance companies and their adjusters often take this approach to see if the accident victim is in a hurry to resolve their personal injury claim.
If numerous settlement negotiations do not prove fruitful, your lawyer may need to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Filing a lawsuit in court begins the litigation process. However, your legal matter may still resolve at any time outside of court.
Personal Injury Litigation and Discovery Depositions
Once your personal injury attorney files, the insurance company for the at-fault individual will retain an attorney for legal representation. The parties to the case will then engage in a process known as discovery. Discovery typically consists of both written discovery and oral discovery.
During the written discovery phase of a personal injury case, the parties will exchange various documents, including lost income documentation, medical records, and medical bills, with one another.
Through their attorney, the accident victim will also answer written questions, called interrogatories, which address the facts surrounding the accident, the injuries the accident victim suffered, medical treatment, and permanency.
In addition, as part of the discovery stage, the defense attorney will likely note the accident victim’s discovery deposition.
During a deposition, the defense attorney will probably ask questions about:
- The circumstances surrounding the incident
- The specific injuries you suffered
- The medical treatment that you underwent
- The length of time you treated your injuries
- The overall effects of the accident and injuries on your life and well-being
- Whether you plan on having any additional medical treatment
- Whether you missed time from work or had to switch jobs due to the accident and your injuries.
Following a discovery deposition, the defense attorney will typically submit a report to their insurance company adjuster about how the deposition went.
In that report, the defense attorney will:
- Provide a summary of what happened at the deposition
- Summarize the accident victim’s deposition testimony
- Explain whether, in the defense attorney’s opinion, the accident victim will make a good witness if the matter were to go to a civil jury trial
- Recommend whether the insurance company should increase its most recent settlement offer in the case.
Also, following a deposition, insurance company adjusters may increase their settlement offer, according to the defense lawyer’s recommendation. At that point, it is ultimately up to the accident victim whether they accept that settlement offer or continue litigating their case to a conclusion.
A personal injury attorney can recommend whether they think you should accept a pending settlement offer for the insurance company or take your case to a civil jury trial or ADR proceeding.
Jury Trials and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Proceedings
If the parties to a personal injury lawsuit cannot resolve their case after the deposition, the matter may go to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.
At a jury trial, the parties present evidence, including documentary evidence and witness testimony, to prove the legal elements of the case. The jury then has the task of resolving all issues that remain in dispute, including monetary compensation and damages to the accident victim.
As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties may consider ADR, such as mediation or binding arbitration. For example, at a binding arbitration proceeding, the parties have a mini-trial outside of court and present evidence to a neutral arbitrator who reviews everything. The arbitrator then issues an opinion, including the amount of monetary damages to award the accident victim.
Potential Monetary Damages in Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits
If you suffered injuries resulting from negligence, you may be eligible to recover various types of monetary damages in your case.
Economic damages may include financial compensation for:
- Related medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages may include monetary compensation for all of your:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the ability to use a body part (such as with paralysis)
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Emotional anguish
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Long-term care costs
Insurance companies will underestimate your losses, especially intangible losses like pain and suffering. Your lawyer can provide support for the full amount you deserve in damages for your injuries.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Near You Today
If you recently sustained injuries in an accident because of someone else’s negligent behavior, you should take legal action in your case immediately.
A personal injury law firm in Bronx can enter an appearance on your behalf, submit a settlement demand package, and begin negotiating a fair settlement offer in your case. If your legal matter must proceed to litigation, your attorney can prepare you for your discovery deposition or trial, continue negotiating with settlement adjusters, and help you achieve the best litigation result possible.
Time is of the essence in personal injury matters due to the statute of limitations and the strength of available evidence. Never delay protecting your rights by seeking assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Case evaluations are no-cost with no obligation.