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The Basic Steps of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In personal injury law, there are many ways a person can suffer an injury through the negligence of someone else. It may involve a slip and fall, a car accident, an aggressive dog, or dozens of other ways. Regardless of the circumstances, the process of seeking restitution in a personal injury lawsuit usually follows these steps:


  • Initial meeting with an attorney. In an initial consultation, your lawyer will go over the facts of the incident, what type of medical treatment you received, who was a witness, what contact you have had with insurance companies and healthcare providers, were police involved, followed by an overview of your legal options. Harsh Law provides complimentary initial consultations to evaluate your case.


  • Settlement demands. Before trying to settle with the insurance company or other liable party, you need to receive the necessary medical treatment. Your personal injury lawyer should work to get the liable insurance company to pay for any vehicle damages, wage loss, and medical bills. Once your medical care is complete and any long-term injuries are either ruled out or accurately identified, it is important to gather all medical records, bills, and other evidence. Your attorney will then write a settlement demand to the insurance carrier of the liable party. If the insurance company is willing to be reasonable, then you might decide to settle your claim as this is often the quickest method to find a resolution. If the insurance company is not willing to make a settlement offer that you find to be fair and reasonable, then your attorney will ask you to meet with us to discuss the risks, costs, and timeline associated with filing a lawsuit. At Harsh Law, we work collaboratively with our clients to weigh the costs and benefits of pursuing all options with you.


  • Filing court papers. The next step any personal injury lawyer will do is file a complaint with the court, outlining the case against the defendant. This sets the legal framework for the case, including the basis for the filing, facts of the case, and a demand for relief, stating that damages are being sought. The paperwork will be served to the defendant, which compels them to respond to the complaint. Harsh Law is experienced in working with the courts of Southern California, specifically San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County.


  • Discovery. This is the phase that allows both sides to investigate deeper into the facts of the case and may involve depositions, the exchange of documents related to the case, expert witness testimony, and access to any physical items or the location in which the personal injury took place. Harsh Law seeks to have a complete and clear understanding of all aspects of your case to provide the strongest argument possible in your favor.


  • Motions. Based on the information uncovered during the discovery step, an opportunity may present itself where the liable party will seek to have a case dismissed or certain evidence dismissed for a variety of reasons. It will be up to the judge to decide which motions are valid and which ones are not. This is a common tactic and the lawyers at Harsh Law are prepared to respond on your behalf.


  • Settlement. Before a trial, there may be attempts to settle the case in a manner deemed acceptable to both parties. If one party has a stronger case than the other, this may be the best course of action to avoid the emotional stress and trauma associated with going to trial. The personal injury legal team at Harsh Law on your side will help keep you informed and expertly advised on all offers.


  • Trial. Although most cases are settled, some do go to trial. This will involve selecting a jury, opening statements, testimony by witnesses, cross-examination of witnesses, closing arguments, and deliberations by a jury. Harsh Law has experience in presenting cases in court and will not hesitate to pursue a trial if it is the best course of action for getting you the result you deserve.


  • Collecting a judgment. Upon successfully winning a case, you are entitled to collect a judgment, but sometimes the liable party is slow or unable to pay. Harsh Law will continue to work with you and our partners to recover the compensation you are due.


  • Appeals. After a trial has concluded, one side may request to appeal the decision, basically setting into play a new set of legal actions to take place. It is important to be prepared for this outcome, but trust that the legal team at Harsh Law has experience in thoroughly presenting and defending personal injury cases.


Harsh Law is a personal injury law firm that proudly serves communities throughout Southern California. Give our expert legal team a call at 909-793-6261 for a free case evaluation.