A personal injury is when an individual sustains a loss, typically due to an accident or negligence. A personal injury claim is when the injured person (usually along with their attorney) submits a letter demanding the at-fault party provide adequate compensation. If the at-fault party does not believe they are at-fault, or if they believe the demands of the injured person are unreasonable, the claim will be submitted to a court – typically the San Bernardino County or Riverside County courts.
Once the court is involved through the act of filing a lawsuit, the personal injury claim becomes a personal injury case. Following the judge’s ruling, a jury or court will ultimately render a decision.
Accidents can be so severe (catastrophic or fatal) that they may necessitate the victim filing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party or their insurance company. A lawyer who specializes in personal injury law manages and represents the claimant in court.
Step 1: The Accident – The event which started the process. Gather as much evidence (photos, reports, video) as possible to provide strength to your claim.
Step 2: Initial Treatment – After any injury, seek immediate medical attention. Save the paperwork from each visit and receipts for all expenses.
Step 3: Insurance Companies – The at-fault party may have their insurance company reach out to you with a settlement offer in exchange for a release of liability. They assume most people will not consult with an attorney and will often accept their initial offer.
Step 4: Hiring a Lawyer – A lawyer will help you to understand the aspects of your claim and to talk to insurance companies on your behalf.
Step 5: Investigation of the Injury – Your lawyer will now review all of the evidence of your accident and injury, become knowledgeable with your treatment and any future limitations or issues.
Step 6: Demand Letter – Your lawyer will use the information gathered to write a strong demand letter to the insurance organization, clearly outlying their responsibility and an appropriate amount of money which would be accepted to release their liability.
Step 7: Filing a Lawsuit – If the insurance company or at-fault party does not agree with the demand letter, your lawyer will file a lawsuit. This will start the legal proceedings with the court system.
Step 8: Discovery Phase – As part of every lawsuit, both sides will have an exchange of information through sharing of documents, interviews, and evaluation of information by third parties also known as expert witnesses (such as a medical doctor evaluating the claim based on the evidence provided).
Step 9: Mediation – Before going in front of a judge and jury, both parties are compelled to attempt to negotiate a settlement with a court-appointed mediator. This is an effort to resolve cases and lighten the burden on the court and jury pools.
Step 10: Trial – If both parties still do not agree, a court date will be set. The actual trial has many steps, rules and etiquette standards to follow. Your attorney will guide you through this process.
Step 11: Payment & Appeals – Upon completion of a successful verdict, payment is often due immediately. An appeal may be filed by either party if information is later discovered that was not available during the discovery phase – but this is uncommon.
At Harsh Law, our legal team will investigate the accident, establish fault and liability and help you chose the option that works in your best interest. If you have been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we will work to settle your claim with the insurance and, if required, defend you in court. Our extensive knowledge and experience will assist you through the process and assure that you receive fair compensation.
Call us at 909-793-6261 today to get a free case consultation. We serve clients throughout Southern California in San Bernardino County, Orange County and Riverside County.