An accident can change your life in the blink of an eye. The results can be devastating, whether it’s a car crash, a slip and fall, a medical malpractice error, or a work injury.
If you have been injured in an accident someone else caused, you might be entitled to compensation. You need to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you understand how filing a lawsuit could get you the compensation you need to cover your accident-related injuries and losses.
After an accident, there are several things you can do to help build a strong case. You should promptly seek and receive medical attention. Be sure to follow all doctor’s orders strictly and keep all documentation that you receive. Stay off social media and avoid accepting new friend requests. Anything you post online can potentially be used to make the case that your injuries are not serious.
What Takes Place Prior to Filing a Lawsuit?
Some personal injury cases may settle outside the courtroom without the need for a lawsuit. The first step in this process is for your lawyer to issue a demand for compensation to the other party’s attorney or insurer. The demand letter will contain information about the accident and how it caused your injuries. The letter will detail the expenses you incurred due to the accident and your lost wages. Your attorney will specify the amount of compensation you expect to receive and a timeline for the other party to respond.
After this, settlement negotiations are the next step. There will typically be multiple rounds of negotiations, as the initial offer is often too low. Insurance companies are notorious for doing whatever they can to avoid paying money to injury victims. Insurance companies may assume that you hope or need to settle quickly. As a result, they may offer less compensation than you deserve. Your attorney will evaluate each settlement offer to determine whether it is fair and if it includes the compensation to which you may be entitled.
What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If negotiations do not lead to a settlement, your lawyer can help you decide whether to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation. A lawsuit typically proceeds along the following steps:
- Filing the Lawsuit — Your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf, including all required documentation.
- Discovery — This refers to the period when both parties involved in the lawsuit exchange information and documentation. The discovery phase can often take a significant amount of time as the two sides request evidence from each other and build their cases. Depositions could occur. These informal proceedings gather testimony under oath outside the courtroom. Discovery allows both parties to be informed about the evidence that may be presented if the case goes to trial.
- Mediation — This is a process that can result in an agreement between the two parties, thereby avoiding a trial. Mediation is facilitated by a third-party mediator who serves as a neutral go-between to help the parties reach a compromise.
- Settlement Negotiations — Negotiations at this point are still possible. If the other party believes you have a strong case, they could make a significantly better settlement offer in hopes of avoiding going to court. If you accept a settlement offer, you give up the ability to seek further compensation from the other party.
- Trial — If settlement negotiations are not successful, then your case can proceed to trial. Your lawyer will present your case to a jury or a judge. The judge or jury will examine all the evidence and determine who is at fault for the accident. If the party you are suing is found at fault for your injuries, the jury or judge will also determine the amount of money the other party is required to pay to you. After the court makes its decision, both sides can appeal that decision.
Once a verdict is reached, you may be awarded compensation by the court. This payment is then sent to your lawyer. They will deduct any accident-related liens, their legal fees, and any remaining expenses. After this, your attorney will issue a check to you.
Call Tamaki Law Today
If you have been injured in an accident in Washington that was not your fault, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. You should speak with an experienced Washington personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Contact us at (800) 801-9564 to speak with a Tamaki Law attorney about your case. We are prepared to answer your questions during a free consultation.