A car accident is traumatic. It happens in a couple of seconds and can transform the entire trajectory of a person’s life. Some accidents result in minor injuries and a little bit of property damage, but some don’t. If a passenger or driver has been injured in an accident, they can file for a personal injury claim. Most of these cases are settled outside of court, resulting in the plaintiff losing out on a lot more benefits. Every personal injury claim is unique, but there are certain steps and guidelines one needs to follow in case of an auto accident case. Here are the steps that the process of a personal injury auto accident case.
When in an accident, your health and wellbeing should be your highest priority. However, if you’re able to do so, we recommend taking a few steps before the case goes any further. In the initial investigation stage, you should ideally be:
- Taking photographs of the scene of the accident
- Collecting the contact numbers of the driver and witnesses
- Noting down weather conditions
- Survey the area for any cameras that may have recorded the accident
- Involve the police
Visit a doctor immediately after the accident. Your doctor will conduct an examination and make sure to mention any and all symptoms or injuries that you may have incurred. Ask your doctor when you can return to work after sustaining these injuries and whether or not you’ll require further treatment or follow-ups.
Make sure that you’ve safely documented and kept all prescriptions and medical bills with you, as they’ll be used as a form of evidence.
Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer
Once you’ve been deemed medically fit, the next step to take is to contact a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer is a litigator who will provide you with legal representation in court to help you receive compensation for all the damages incurred due to the auto accident.
Your personal injury lawyer will take the initial investigation to its next stage. They will gather all the data, including police reports, video footage, witness testimonies, employment history, medical records, and more.
Your personal injury lawyer will remain in contact with witnesses, your employer, or the medical professionals who treated you for any injuries sustained, and in some cases, even prepare them to take the stand in court. They will also prepare for any possible defenses that the opposing party may bring forth to deny the plaintiff’s compensation claims.
Creating a Settlement Demand Package
This step entails creating a package of demands in terms of liability and damages. Your personal injury lawyer will send a letter to the opposing party, and the party can choose to either reject or accept the claims. These claims will include compensation for economic damages such as medical bills, permanent disability as a result of the accident, injuries, wages lost, time missed from work and non-economic damages, such as mental pain and suffering incurred by the plaintiff and their family members, loss of future wages, and more.
If the demands are rejected, a lawsuit is filed.
During this step of the process, both sides “discover” evidence that helps their case. They prepare for any defense that the opposing side may use, and a good personal injury lawyer will be able to obtain enough evidence to help you win your case.
These documents include photographs, medical records, interrogatories, depositions. During a deposition, lawyers from either side will be able to interview and question the main parties involved in the accident.
A mediation in personal injury cases is often informal and done with a judge in an attempt to prevent the parties from going to trial. In this mediation stage, an effort is made to get both parties to agree and settle on the demands and claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to handle mediation instead of settling for a mediocre one-time lump-sum payment.
If mediation is successful, then an agreement will be drafted detailing the terms of the compensation, declaring that the opposing party is released from all future liability in connection to the plaintiff’s injuries due to the accident.
The final step of the process, a trial, involves a jury and a judge. The plaintiff will have to prove that they have been injured as a result of the accident. Witnesses, police officers, medical professionals, and others involved in the case must also testify to help strengthen the defendant’s claim.
The jury will determine how many damages the plaintiff should be awarded based on the evidence provided by both sides. If the jury believes that the plaintiff shares fault in the accident, then the paid damages may be reduced.
Choosing the Right Lawyer
Under the statute of limitations for Alabama, a personal injury case with regard to an auto accident should be filed within 90 days of the incident. If you’re looking to seek financial compensation for your injuries or property damage as a result of the accident, you should look into hiring a personal injury lawyer to help your case.
Get expert legal assistance at Hare | Wynn. A law firm in Alabama, they deal with a number of personal injury cases, including car accidents, brain and birth injuries, catastrophic injuries, medical malpractice and medication error, burn injuries, and more. Hare | Wynn’s dedicated team of professionals will be able to assist you every step of the way with your personal injury case.