Personal injury claims arise when an at-fault party is negligent, and you suffer harm. If you wish to file a personal injury claim, you’ll need to begin by visiting an attorney.
Personal injury services are among the most economical legal services offered today, as you don’t have to pay your attorney unless they win your case. So, if you’ve suffered an injury and believe you have a claim, schedule an appointment with a lawyer.
Whether you want to negotiate a fairer insurance settlement or believe you deserve more money for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, you should discuss your legal options with a personal injury lawyer in the Bronx.
An Introduction to the Personal Injury Process
Once you've found an injury attorney who will handle your case, the actual process begins. Here's what you can expect.
Investigation and Preparation of the Demand Letter
Your attorney will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your accident and injury. They'll gather police reports, medical records, and witness statements - anything that supports building a strong and compelling case on your behalf.
If it's evident that another party is responsible for your injuries, your attorney will send them a letter outlining the damages incurred and the compensation you seek. This form of correspondence is called a demand letter and is common in personal injury cases.
If the initial demand letter doesn't result in a settlement, your attorney will engage in discussions with either the insurance company or the opposing counsel. This process can take weeks or even months to finalize. Negotiations may involve exchanging counteroffers until you reach a fair agreement or decide to pursue further legal action.
If negotiations prove unsuccessful, your case will proceed to court. Again, your attorney will conduct investigations to gather evidence. You may be required to provide a sworn statement during a deposition where you’ll answer questions under oath.
The court will establish deadlines for motions and responses. Eventually, there will be a trial before a judge or jury. Legal proceedings can be time-consuming, often taking years to resolve.
Judgment Award and Settlement
The majority of personal injury cases are resolved through settlements out of court. However, if your case goes to trial, it typically is up to a jury to determine whether a defendant is liable and what you’ll receive in damages.
Also, remember this - winning a verdict doesn't guarantee payment, as the opposing party may appeal, resulting in further delays in the process.
If you agree to a settlement, you can expect payment within an agreed-upon time frame.
Your attorney will guide you through every step of the proceedings. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, don't hesitate to voice them. Remember that your attorney works for you, and you can build a well-reasoned and convincing case together.
Constructing Your Case: The Evidence Used in Personal Injury Lawsuits
Once you have chosen a personal injury lawyer to represent you, it's time to gather evidence for your case. The evidence you use can make or break your case, so you must cover all your bases. While your lawyer gathers complex evidence, you might help by organizing what you already possess.
Documents and Records
Compile any relevant documents about your injury, such as medical records, invoices, pay stubs, and correspondence with insurance companies. These documents will serve as evidence of your damages - expenses incurred and the sequence of events for your claim. Your attorney will review them to establish liability and assess the strength of your case.
Capture images of any injuries you sustained or damages caused to your vehicle or property due to the accident. Photographs truly speak volumes in court proceedings.
Remember: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Additionally, your attorney can inquire if witnesses or bystanders at the scene have any photos or videos related to the incident that you can use.
Your lawyer will speak with individuals who witnessed the accident and gather written and signed statements regarding their observations while the details are still fresh in their minds. Your attorney can also potentially call upon them to testify on your behalf.
Maintain Records and Stay Organized
Keep a journal or notebook to document appointments, expenses, contacts, and anything related to your claim or treatments. Stay diligent in attending follow-up visits with your doctors or participating in physical therapy sessions. Being organized and proactive will make it easier for your lawyer to ask for the maximum compensation for your settlement award.
While pursuing a personal injury lawsuit may involve time-consuming processes, justice will prevail when you have a legal team supporting you along the way. Take a role in building your case, collaborating closely with your attorney to ensure you cover all the details of your claim.
Settlement Negotiation or Trial Consideration?
At some point during your personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need to decide whether to pursue a settlement or proceed with a trial. This choice is not simple; however, comprehending the advantages and disadvantages of each option can help make the right decision.
As noted, most personal injury cases are resolved through settlement discussions before reaching the trial or court phase of the process. These discussions involve a back-and-forth exchange with the opposing party to reach an agreed-upon compensation amount.
1. Generally, it is less stressful than a trial as it avoids court proceedings and attorney questioning.
2. Guaranteed payout - You know how much money you will receive, eliminating the uncertainty of waiting for a trial verdict.
3. Lower costs - With less time dedicated to the case, you might also have lower attorney fees and legal expenses.
1. Potential for a payout - The settlement amount may be less than what a jury might award after a trial as the opposing party may try to settle quickly, so you’ll accept less money.
2. No admission of fault - Settlements usually do not include an admission of guilt or a binding verdict, allowing the other party to deny responsibility or to be held less accountable.
If negotiations reach an impasse and no settlement agreement results, proceeding to trial will become necessary. However, once more, note that many cases do get settled successfully through good-faith negotiations. Collaborate closely with your attorney to determine a reasonable settlement demand, yet be prepared for compromises to achieve an agreement.
Proceeding with a Trial
If settling out of court is not feasible, your case will proceed to trial, where it will be presented before both a judge and jury.
The process typically begins with trial procedures such as discovery and depositions and then moves on to the actual trial.
1. Possibility of an award - Jurors may grant you a higher amount after carefully considering all the evidence and testimonies presented in court.
2. Binding legal verdict - A trial verdict establishes the responsibility and liability of the other party for your injuries.
3. Opportunity for justice: For some individuals, a trial offers a sense of closure or justice that may not be possible through a settlement.
1. A lengthy and intricate process - Trials often span over months or even years involving personal injury lawsuits.
2. Risk of an outcome -There is always the possibility that the jury may find the other party not liable or award you damages, leaving you with little or nothing. So, you must be fairly confident you can win a sizable settlement.
3. Higher costs involved - Attorney fees and legal expenses accumulate over the longer trial period.
Choosing between a settlement and going to trial can be challenging, contingent upon your circumstances and priorities. Therefore, you must discuss all the options with your attorney before deciding. Remember that patience and determination can lead to achieving justice.
Receiving Compensation for Your Expenses and/or Losses
In a personal injury lawsuit, you can receive compensation for the following costs and/or losses:
Regarding your claim, you’ll want to cover the costs of all the care you require, including treatments, hospital stays, physical therapy, medications, and any other necessary therapies. You’ll need to keep a record of all the expenses related to your injury.
If your injury prevents you from working, you must seek compensation for any income you lost or what you might lose in future income.
You’ll need to provide your attorney with pay stubs, tax returns, or any other relevant documents proving what you would have normally earned if you had not suffered an injury.
Pain and Suffering
Physical pain, mental anguish, and a decreased quality of life can result from an injury. Lawyers use an algorithm to calculate pain and suffering based on the severity of your injury.
Loss of Consortium or Companionship
If your injuries affect your ability to provide love, affection, companionship, or intimacy with your spouse, you must request compensation for these damages.
In addition to covering expenses and loss of income during recovery, you’ll also need to include the costs involved in repairing or replacing your vehicle or belongings. You’ll need to provide estimates or receipts for an accurate record of the costs.
The court may award punitive damages if the other party’s actions are deliberate or malicious or showed an egregious disregard for your safety. These damages punish the wrongdoer and discourage future reckless behavior.
The compensation you receive should encompass all the losses incurred due to your injury - all of which aim to restore your health and well-being.
How to Choose a Personal Injury Attorney
To find a personal injury attorney who will fight for your compensation, follow the tips below.
Make Comparisons - Do Your Research
Search for personal injury lawyers in your locality and thoroughly examine their credentials and experience. Focus on attorneys specializing in cases like yours - such as vehicle accidents, slip-and-falls, or medical malpractice. Assess client reviews to gauge the attorney’s reputation and track record of success.
Arrange an Initial Consultation
Schedule an introductory meeting with an attorney you find promising. Most lawyers offer free consultations. During the meeting, the attorney will evaluate the specifics of your case to determine if you have grounds for a claim.
Make sure to come prepared with any evidence of your injury, including photographs, medical records, and detailed information about the incident. Inquire about the attorney’s experience, qualifications, availability, and fees during the consultation.
Ask About the Fees
As mentioned, most attorneys only get paid when they win your case. Find out if the attorney then works on a contingency basis. Find out what extra fees they may charge for gathering evidence, filing, or making copies. Before signing an agreement, ensure you know what costs are assessed and when you’ll have to pay them.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney About Your Case Right Away - Don’t Wait
Have you suffered an injury due to the fault of another party? If so, you need to contact a personal injury attorney. Schedule a consultation now. Most personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years, or you’ll lose your chance for compensation. Be proactive if you’ve suffered an injury and you’re struggling financially. Call a personal injury attorney now.