How Do Personal Injury Claims Work?
If you have been injured through the negligence of someone else, you may have the basis for a personal injury claim. The claim allows you to recover some of what you have lost. For example, if your car is wrecked in an auto accident that was not your fault, filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and his insurance company, will allow you to recover the cost of your car.
Most people have no idea how the law works until they find themselves in this unfamiliar environment. It then becomes a quick lesson in what to expect.
If you are injured, confused, and at a loss for direction, this is the time to hire a personal injury lawyer who understands the ropes and has represented thousands of people who have been in your shoes. J. Allan Brown has extensive experience helping people just like you. He is familiar with all of the tactics used by the other side to avoid taking responsibility and can put you in the best position to move your case forward.
A Personal Injury Claim
The first step after your injury is finding a lawyer you like and communicate well with. Your lawyer, known as the plaintiffs’ lawyer, will represent your claims against the defendant, who might be the insurance company for the at-fault driver, or the owner of a facility where you suffered injuries.
A personal injury action is filed in civil court which allows only for monetary compensation. There may be a corresponding criminal lawsuit filed against the at-fault party if he violated the law which led to your injuries, but that is not always the case, and it is not necessary in order to have a valid civil claim.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis meaning you do not pay anything up front. The law firm will take a percentage of what you are eventually awarded. If you lose your case, the lawyer also loses his fee.
Your law firm may focus on specific types of injuries. For example:
- Auto, truck, motorcycle accidents
- Product liability or defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Workplace injuries
- Toxic environmental exposure
- Premises liability
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Regardless of the area of law, most claims proceed through the court in a similar manner:
Identify the Defendant – First, all of the responsible parties must be identified. That is the corporation or individual whose negligence caused your injury. There may be additional third parties that failed to do their job and could be held responsible as well. They will be identified as additionally liable defendants.
Gather Evidence – Evidence must be gathered to make your claim viable in court. That may mean identifying witnesses, taking expert depositions, deposing the defendant, and gathering the paper trail of evidence.
Demand Letter – Once enough evidence has been gathered, a demand letter will be sent to the defendant. The defendant will likely reply. All of the back and forth will be entered into the docket, which is the paper trial your case is generating and is available electronically to view. Know your case number so you can follow the docket.
Trial Preparation – If a case does not appear to be able to settle, your law firm must prepare your case for trial. That means gathering the witnesses who will appear, the documents that will be shown to the jury, and identifying the scope of the trial. Some evidence may not be allowed in and that is all decided in advance. Remember, going to trial does not mean you automatically win, no matter how strong your case. That is up to the jury, which is never a sure thing.
Settlement – In lieu of trial, most cases settle out of court. That will involve your attorney showing his or her evidence to the other side. If your evidence is overwhelming, the defendant will likely decide to offer a monetary settlement. The first offer is rarely a good one.
Your lawyer has the negotiating skills necessary to deal with the insurance companies, and to weigh the value of settlement versus going to trial. A jury trial is never a sure thing, so your lawyer may suggest that taking the settlement is in your best interests if the offer is fair.
Your Alabama Personal Injury Law Firm
During his two-decade long career, J. Allan Brown has represented many plaintiffs bringing a variety of claims during this extremely stressful time in their lives. Each of his Mobile clients will receive support during the case and will receive communication as to all of the steps involved in preparing the case for settlement or trial. No matter your type of personal injury claim, J. Allan Brown offers a complimentary consultation so you can understand your options. Call his office at 251-220-3100 to take the first step.