How does a personal injury lawsuit work?
Every day injuries are caused by someone else’s carelessness. Because of this insurance companies pay out billions of dollars for injuries caused by medical malpractice, car accidents and more.
At Fisher Stark P.A. we want to empower injury victims so that they do not have to be at the mercy of insurance companies. In this article we will walk you through the personal injury claim process so that you have the information to get the compensation that you deserve. If you would like more information about this process you can call us at (828) 505 4300 or send us an email to request a free consultation.
The Process of a Personal Injury Claim
Get Medical Care
The first thing that you want to do if you are in an accident is go seek medical care. Even if you think that you are not badly injured make an appointment to see your health care provider. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your well being, if you do not see a doctor after an accident the insurance adjuster will assume that your injuries are not very serious.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
While you can normally handle a minor personal injury claim yourself, it is generally a good idea to discuss your options with a personal injury lawyer for any claim that involves a significant injury. Other situations where you would want to consult a lawyer include; if you are out of work for more than a few days, if your medical bills total greater than a couple of thousand dollars or if the other side is fighting you on key issues.
At this point your lawyer will want to know all the details of your accident, injuries, and medical treatment. Do your best to give your lawyer as many details as your can in order for them to get the full scope of your claim. After that, your lawyer will obtain all your medical records and bills relating to your injury and accident. This can be a long process, obtaining these records can take months.
Demands and Negotiation
Many small claims can be settled before a lawsuit is pursued. If your lawyer thinks that your case can be settled, they will make a demand to the other side’s attorney or the insurance company. Your lawyer will likely want to wait until you have recovered as much as possible and have ended all medical treatment (maximum medical improvement). Once you have reached your maximum medical improvement your lawyer will know how much your case is worth. If the settlement fails, then the case moves onto litigation.
Your Lawsuit is Filed
Litigation begins when your lawyer files a personal injury lawsuit in court. Every state has different pretrial procedures, but generally it takes several months before a personal injury case can get to trial. The lawsuit must be filed before a very strict time limit called the statute of limitations. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is three years from the date of the injury. This means that the lawsuit must been filed within three years of the incident the court will likely refuse to hear your case.
The Discovery Phase
This phase is when each side investigates what the other side’s claims and defenses are. This process involves sending questions, requesting documents, and taking depositions of all relevant parties and witnesses. This process can take several months’ time depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s deadlines.
After the discovery phase each sides’ lawyers will generally start talking settlement. Sometimes the lawyers can settle amongst themselves, but in others they will need to go to mediation. Mediation is the process in which both parties get help from a neutral third-party mediator to try to resolve the case.
If neither side can agree in mediation, then the case is scheduled for trial. The good news is that once a lawsuit heads to trial, a final verdict happens relatively quickly. But, keep in mind that the North Carolina court system proceeds at different speeds depending on the number of cases for trial in that county. And at Fisher Stark, P.A. our experience is that cases typically take between 12-18 months from the time of filing a case to the time that we appear at trial in front of a jury for you.
Trial begins with jury selection in which, the lawyers will question potential jurors to determine if the person has any relevant biases or prejudices that might keep them from being fair. Once a jury has been selected the attorneys move forward with opening statements to set the stage for the jury and state their side of the case. After opening statements each side will present their evidence starting with the plaintiff and then moving to the defendant. After the defendant has presented their evidence the trial moves to closing arguments in which both sides get one last chance to argue their point before the jury decides on a verdict.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Asheville, NC
This may seem like a long and complicated process but the attorneys at Fisher Stark P.A. are here to help every step of the way. We are Asheville, NC personal injury lawyers who will work hard to get you the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. We are not intimidated by insurance companies or other attorneys. We do not settle out of convenience or fear of going to trial. Contact us today for a free consultation at (828) 505-4300 or email us at https://fisherstark.com/contact-us/ .
We will work hard to get you the justice & fair compensation you deserve. Fisher Stark, P.A. is a highly respected personal injury law firm in Asheville, NC. We provide experienced legal help for clients in Asheville, NC, and all the communities in Western North Carolina. Collectively, our legal team – Perry Fisher and Brad Stark – have more than 50 years of trial practice and have participated in more than 1,000+ injury cases. Call 828-505-4300 for a free consultation.