How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Work?

How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Work?

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by another party, you may seek compensation. Sustaining harm due to another person’s actions can result in the need to file a personal injury lawsuit. But what is a personal injury lawsuit, and how does it all work?

Understanding what you can expect can help you prepare and give you peace of mind to pursue justice and compensation.

A qualified personal injury attorney can answer all of your case-related questions and provide standout legal representation throughout the life of your case. Time is limited to file a personal injury claim – consult a lawyer as soon as possible.

What is a Personal Injury?

How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Work

In the eyes of the law, a personal injury refers to a physical, mental, or emotional injury caused at the hands of another.

A personal injury typically stems from a party’s negligent or intentional actions. When another person or entity causes you harm, you may have a legal right to obtain fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Common Personal Injury Cases

Several different kinds of personal injury cases exist.

Some of the most common personal injuries that result in legal claims include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian collisions
  • Premises liability accidents, including slip and falls
  • Workplace accidents
  • Damaged or defective product accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home negligence
  • Birth injuries
  • Dog bite accidents

Each case involves unique scenarios and results in different injuries and compensation.

Some of the injuries personal injury victims most often suffer include:

  • Burns
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Internal injuries
  • Injuries resulting in amputation

When you suffer a personal injury through no fault of your own, you should not need to pay for the extensive medical expenses you require. Therefore, a personal injury claim can recover monetarily and lessen your financial burden.

What is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law, also referred to as tort law, is designed to protect those injured by the actions or omissions of another party. This area of law paves the way for you to seek justice and financial compensation for the wrongs done unto you.

Personal injury law branches out to several other areas, including product liability law and premises liability law, depending on the type of accident you’ve suffered and the resulting injuries.

The exact laws and procedures that govern your case vary based on your harm and the cause of your accident. A skilled personal injury attorney can determine how best to handle your case and whether filing a formal personal injury lawsuit is the best course of action to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Steps Involved With a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Every case varies slightly, depending on your situation. However, the general steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit are detailed below.

Filing an Insurance Claim

Not every personal injury lawsuit begins with filing an insurance claim, but for some, this is an important first step.

Depending on the cause of your accident, you may have the opportunity to file a claim with one or more insurance companies.

For example, if you’re in a vehicle accident in a no-fault state, you may file a claim with your PIP coverage and still qualify to file a third-party auto insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. You might file a claim against the liable driver’s insurance and their employer’s insurance if they were on the job when they crashed.

Sometimes, filing an insurance claim is all you need to do to recover fair compensation for your losses. Should the insurance company review your claim and approve it, you’ll receive your settlement, and that concludes your claim.

While this may sound easy, in many cases, it’s not. Insurance companies have a reputation for being difficult to deal with. They often employ several tactics to avoid paying you what your claim is worth.

If you can’t recover compensation successfully through the insurance company, you may need to take further legal action. Alternatively, if your circumstances don’t involve any insurance, you can skip straight to filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Sending a Demand Letter

Typically, when an insurance company is not cooperating, you don’t file a personal injury lawsuit right away. Your personal injury attorney can try to play nice and work with the insurance company before taking further legal action against them. That’s where the demand letter comes in.

Your lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company providing information concerning your accident and demanding compensation.

In the letter, your lawyer may include:

  • Details about your accident, including injuries you sustained
  • Information regarding the insured’s fault
  • The total of your expenses and losses, including medical bills and property damage

In the end, your attorney provides a monetary figure representing your damages and asks for compensation. They’ll also include details concerning subsequent steps should the insurance company fail to comply or settle, including filing a lawsuit.

Once the insurance company receives the letter, they have options.

First, they can agree to your lawyer’s demand for compensation. Should the insurer agree, this will conclude your claim. They can also ignore the letter and do nothing. And finally, they can respond to the letter and either engage in settlement negotiations or deny the request altogether.

Should the insurance company either ignore or deny the request completely or fail to settle, your lawyer can then proceed with filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Filing Your Lawsuit

There are multiple ways to resolve your claim and get competition. Still, filing a personal injury lawsuit may give you the greatest opportunity to obtain the most favorable result. Your personal injury lawyer can determine whether filing a personal injury lawsuit is right for you and your case.

If filing a lawsuit is in your best interest, you can trust your personal injury attorney to handle it for you.

Initiating a lawsuit involves drafting a petition and filing that, along with any other documentation required, with the local court. Once you successfully file your petition, you can proceed with the following necessary step.

Serving the Opposing Party

After filing your lawsuit in court, the opposing party needs to know you’re suing them. This is called service of process.

Service of process involves providing the opposing party, which can be an insurance company or the party at fault, with a copy of court documents, including your petition. This puts them on notice of your lawsuit.

There are various methods to satisfy the service of process requirement, depending on state law and available means. For example, you can hire a private process server, get the local sheriff involved, or send the documents via certified mail, just to name a few.

Waiting for a Response

Once the opposing party has received proper notice, they have a limited amount of time, usually 20 to 30 days, to file their response with the court.

In their response, the defendant is either admitting or denying the allegations brought forth in the initial petition. The response can include affirmative defenses or legal defenses to rebut the plaintiff’s claims, counterclaims, or allegations against the plaintiff.

Should the defendant fail to file their response on time or request an extension, you can ask the judge for a default judgment, which will grant the relief you requested in your petition.

When the defendant files their response on time, you can officially proceed with your lawsuit and move on to the next phase.

Engaging in Discovery

One of the most important—and longest—parts of any lawsuit, especially a personal injury claim, is discovery.

Discovery allows both parties to request and receive information and evidence that will help their positions.

Some of the tools attorneys use during discovery include:

  • Requests for admissions
  • Interrogatories
  • Requests for production
  • Depositions

At this time, your personal injury lawyer works diligently to obtain any piece of evidence they feel can help substantiate your claims.

Some of the evidence most often used in personal injury claims include:

  • Medical records and bills
  • Police reports
  • Photos and videos
  • Witness statements
  • Surveillance and traffic cam footage
  • Once both parties get everything they need to strengthen their cases, the discovery phase can conclude, and your case can proceed.

Settlement Negotiations and Mediation

Your attorney may negotiate a settlement before filing a lawsuit. However, many times these settlement negotiations don’t end in a successful agreement because the opposing party has not had the time to conduct its own investigation.

After the discovery process ends and each party has the information they need, they can take more informed, calculated steps. This can help in the efforts to settle the case.

Your attorney may attempt to settle the case, but mediation may help. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution held before a third-party mediator. The mediator helps both sides come to an agreement in a friendly, collaborative environment. Depending on procedures in your jurisdiction, mediation may or may not be necessary.

If your case settles pre-trial, your lawsuit ends. Should the parties not resolve the case, you may proceed to trial.


During trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant have the chance to present their cases before a judge and perhaps a jury as well. They’ll state their claims and spend time calling witnesses and presenting evidence to strengthen their positions.

At the end of the trial, the judge or jury makes a decision and rules in favor of one party or the other. Once the trial has ended, a formal order is entered with details regarding a judgment.

Is it Possible to Settle a Personal Injury Lawsuit Outside of Court?

One of the most asked questions regarding personal injury lawsuits is whether or not a case can settle and avoid the courtroom.

Most personal injury cases settle pre-trial to avoid the stress, cost, and time commitment of a trial. Instead, they come to an agreement before it ever gets there.

Still, your case may go to trial. It all depends on the specifics of your case, the direction it takes, and the opposing party’s willingness to settle.

You can trust your personal injury attorney to do everything possible to settle your case as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, it is not up to them alone, but they will take every necessary step to protect your rights and fight diligently on your behalf.

Time Restrictions on Personal Injury Cases

One of the most essential details to keep in mind regarding personal injury cases is the time limit.

Civil cases are subject to statutes of limitations. A statute of limitations imposes a time limit on your ability to file your lawsuit in court. Statutes of limitations for personal injury cases vary by state but usually give plaintiffs two to four years to file their claims.

States are strict about their statutes of limitations. Should you fail to file your lawsuit in time, you may lose your right to pursue monetary recovery for your injuries and losses.

Therefore, you should give yourself the time necessary to file a lawsuit if necessary. Take your case to a personal injury lawyer right away to timely handle your claim.

When You Suffer an Injury, Consult with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Ivan Diamond, Personal Injury Attorney near Bronx, NY area
Ivan Diamond, Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from another party, you don’t have to handle your case alone. Contact a local personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to better understand your rights, discuss your options, and begin working on your case.

Why Hire an Experienced
Attorney Like Ivan Diamond

If you want to recover the maximum compensation that you deserve, you need an experienced personal injury attorney like Ivan Diamond on your side.

footer attorney image

If you want to recover the maximum compensation that you deserve, you need an experienced personal injury attorney like Ivan Diamond on your side.

Someone who understands the tactics insurance companies and opposing lawyers sometimes use to avoid liability and paying settlements.

Insurance adjusters, in particular, know that you’re going through a difficult time. They may try to take advantage by offering you a lowball settlement, hoping you’ll jump at quick money before you talk to a lawyer. Don’t help them out. Instead, let an experienced attorney handle the negotiations.

The same goes for preparing your claim. A skilled, knowledgeable litigator like me understands what facts and arguments are most important to prove your claim to a judge and jury, if it comes to taking a case to trial. I know how to guide my clients through depositions, discovery, and efforts by opposing lawyers to trap them into saying things that might undermine their case.

Related Post

Ortiz Family’s review &

Case Study


When our family received a call from the nursing home my brother was staying, we had no idea what lay ahead. My brother was burned over 60% of his body from smoking a cigarette without supervision.


We were so lucky to find an attorney like Mr. Diamond. We found Mr.Diamond to be sensitive to our sense of urgency to resolve this situation. He was 100% reliable and truly cared about our case which was very important to us.


As it turned out we received a large settlement and can now put it behind us. We’re very grateful to Mr.Diamond for his support and understanding and we would highly recommend him. Not to mention, he was a hell of a nice guy.