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Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

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July 1, 2014

After you’ve just been in an accident, a lot of things run through your mind. Am I hurt? Does anyone else need medical attention? Who should I call first? These are all important questions that need to be answered in the immediate aftermath so that you and everyone else involved can get the immediate care needed. Equally as important is figuring out the next steps that you will take as you recover. Whether you are dealing with an injury accident and need an auto accident attorney, a slip-and-fall situation, or something more serious such as wrongful death, being prepared for the road ahead will help ensure that you take the best course of action based on your specific case. Understanding the proper steps for filing a claim will help you navigate the legal process so you can work toward getting the court decision you need, or the settlement that you and your family deserve.

Establish the Facts

Keeping detailed notes following an accident, such as paperwork from any visits to the doctor and the events leading up to impact, allows your attorney to properly and thoroughly build your case. If you are in a car accident, you will want to take photos of the scene and get a copy of the police report so that your attorney can help represent you in the best possible way. Malpractice lawsuits against a doctor and other personal injury cases require their own set of documentation and your lawyer can assist you in tracking down anything that you need. Without this information, you will have a much tougher time of proving the validity of your claim.

See if Insurance Will Cover Your Claim

Once you have all of the information you need based on the events that have taken place, you will need to see if an insurance policy will cover your injuries. As you plan to file your personal injury lawsuit, you’ll want to find out whether or not the responsible party has adequate insurance coverage. For instance, if you slip and fall, you’ll want to know if the property owner has liability coverage.

This step is extremely important because it will help you make a decision on whether or not to pursue your claim. You’ll want to know that you will be able to collect any damages that are awarded to you at the end of your case. If your injuries are serious enough, even if the other party does not have insurance, your lawyer may advise continuing your case to help you get the decision you deserve.

Consult a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer

Unless your accident results in extremely minor injuries or you can get the result you need on your own, such as in a minor fender bender, it is a good idea to discuss your case and legal options with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Most attorneys will provide an initial consultation free of charge to go over the facts of your case and weigh its merits. Discuss your choices moving forward so that you know what you can expect from the legal system once your lawsuit is filed.

Personal injury lawyers will usually work on a contingency basis, meaning that you will pay nothing for their representation until there is a settlement or the court rules in your favor. At that time, you will pay an agreed-upon portion of the settlement or judgment as a fee for their representation. All cases vary in terms of complexity and the amount of money at stake, which is why it is a good idea to partner with an attorney that can help you navigate the legal maze moving forward.

Filing Your Lawsuit

Once you retain the services of a personal injury attorney, he or she will advise you on the best way to proceed. A majority of personal injury cases are either settled before trial, or the issue is resolved with no legal action being taken. According to a recent sampling, 95 percent of lawsuits end with a pre-trial settlement. Sometimes filing a lawsuit with the court is unnecessary. If the person you want to sue has insurance coverage in place, your attorney can assist with filing a third-party claim with their carrier. This includes using the insurance policy information you collected at the time of the incident and sending a notice to the company to get the ball rolling.

If you do not hear anything back, or if settlement talks break down, you can always continue by filing a lawsuit with your local civil courthouse. Your personal injury attorney in Los Angeles will give you the information you need about court costs for filing your suit and what your responsibilities are once it has been filed. Be sure to learn about the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in your state because you will have no legal options once that time period has expired.

For more information about the process for filing a personal injury lawsuit, and to discuss your case, contact your attorney directly.

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