It is normal to have questions, concerns or anxiety over the personal injury lawsuit process as a claimant. You may have never seen the civil justice system firsthand from the position of plaintiff. Hiring an injury lawyer can give you peace of mind at every stage of the process, lending you an experienced professional for guidance. Your attorney can make sure you conquer each phase of a personal injury lawsuit through tailored legal counsel and proven strategies.
First, investigate your accident on your own, starting as soon as the day you suffer your injury. Remain at the scene to collect information such as the names of all parties involved, the date and location of the incident, who you reported your injuries to, your police report number, and photographs of relevant details. Gathering information on your own can help you craft a strong case from the beginning. Create a folder where you keep all information related to your accident and injury organized.
Research personal injury trial attorneys near you with experience in your practice area. Write down two or three that seem promising based on their websites, testimonials and case results. Then, schedule free consultations with your top choices. During your free consultation, explain to the accident lawyer what happened and ask whether you have an accident claim. Choose your attorney based on the one that gives you the best feeling in terms of passion, ability and personal care. Use the free consultation to learn more about your case and your rights.
Once you hire a personal injury attorney, he or she can help you draft and send a demand package to the defendant. The demand package includes a simple demand letter, information about your case, a breakdown of your losses and an amount you are demanding from the opposing party or insurance company. Using a lawyer to create your demand letter can make for a stronger claim to damages against the defendant. An attorney will know how to provide supporting documents, images and evidence alongside your claim to improve the odds of the insurance company accepting your demands.
Upon filing the claim and serving it on the defendant, you and your lawyer will wait for a response. Most insurance companies aim to respond to claims within 30 days. They may have longer, however, if they request an extension in writing with a valid reason. A positive response will lead to settlement negotiations with an insurance claims adjuster for an amount you both agree is fair. You may be able to resolve your claim at this stage (pre-trial litigation). A negative response, however, will give you the ability to take your personal injury claim to court instead.
If a settlement is not possible, your claim will proceed to the discovery phase of a personal injury trial. During discovery, both sides of the case will ask each other questions concerning evidence and basic information. Your lawyer can help you with interviews and interrogations during the discovery phase. Afterward, you may enter into mediation to try to resolve the case again before proceeding to a full trial. Mediation involves a third-party judge to help settle matters.
The next step, if necessary, is a hearing in a court of law in Colorado. You and the defendant (along with your attorneys, if applicable) will state your cases before a judge and/or jury. The court will then deliberate on the facts heard during the lawsuit and decide whether or not you deserve compensation. Although a court award could be more money than an insurance settlement, winning is not a guarantee. Speak to an attorney to discuss the best route for your personal injury lawsuit.