Despite your best efforts at safety, accidents are an inevitable fact of life. These accidents can occur at work, home, or school. Many accidents also take place on the road.
A recent report by the National Safety Council explains over three million Americans are affected by motor vehicle accidents each year. And in Los Angeles, the rate of injuries suffered from car accidents is the highest for any city in America.
The physical, emotional, and financial devastation that results from these accidents often affects accident victims for extended periods of time.
If the reckless or careless conduct of another individual caused you to be injured in an accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury claim.
The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus breaks down the personal injury claims process as follows:
The Initial Consultation
The initial meeting with an attorney to discuss the merits of a potential personal injury claim is referred to as a consultation. This consultation is usually free to accident victims.
The consultation will include discussions regarding the nature of your accident and the extent of any injuries you received. The lawyer will have a series of questions for you to answer. Do not hesitate to voice any questions you may have regarding the lawyer's experience, qualifications, or any other concerns you may have.
If you and your attorney decide to move forward with a personal injury claim following the consultation, it will be time to file the required documents. The complaint will list you as the plaintiff in the suit and the offending party will be identified as the defendant. Other items included in the complaint is the nature of the accident, injuries sustained, the legal liability believed to be possessed by the defendant, and the requested remedy for the plaintiff. The defendant is permitted to file an answer to a complaint.
Once both sides have filed their initial documents, a process of formal information exchange known as discovery begins.
Your lawyer will request the information you need from the defendant. Both sides may also provide sworn depositions for court records.
In some cases, your lawyer may reach out to medical and accident reconstruction experts to gain a better understanding of certain elements of your case. These experts may appear at your trial if your personal injury claim makes it to court.
It is typical for lawyers to file motions before trial that compel the defendant to provide evidence to the court. Certain motions can also be used in an attempt to gain a successful outcome in a case before the trial begins.
Your attorney can request a summary judgment from the judge when he feels the facts of the case are indisputable to the point there is no need for you to wait any longer than necessary for the compensation you deserve. On the other side of the equation, lawyers for the defendant can file a motion to dismiss the case based on a lack of jurisdiction or evidence.
Attorneys for both the plaintiff and defendant will likely seek to avoid a trial by reaching a settlement agreement. A typical settlement agreement involves the defendant agreeing to provide the plaintiff with financial relief in exchange for a release from liability.
The process of negotiations begins with a compensation demand from the plaintiff. The defendant will often reply with a counteroffer. The back and forth may be repeated several times before an agreement is reached.
If you and the defendant are unable to reach a settlement agreement, your personal injury claim will go to trial. The court will first decide if the defendant is liable for the accident that caused your injuries. If this determination is affirmative, the court will determine the amount of damage compensation awarded to you.
The majority of personal injury claims are settled before reaching trial. However, if your case is one that reaches the trial stage, you will need the expertise of a Los Angeles personal injury attorney like those working at the Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus.
Whether a settlement is reached in your personal injury claim or a court issued a favorable judgment to you, your lawyer will collect and distribute funds as needed, including the funds you are owed.
Post Trial Procedure
A defendant may file a post-trial motion to either reduce the amount of your judgment or set aside the judgment altogether. A defendant can also appeal to a higher court if he or she believes the unfavorable judgment against them was given in error.
Get The Legal Help You Need
The personal injury claims process is a complicated process filled with nuances that will affect your chances of a favorable outcome and influence the amount of compensation you are awarded.
If you or someone close to you has suffered injury or property damage in an accident caused by someone else, you should secure the services of a trusted Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Contact The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus today at (800) 905-8777 to begin seeking the compensation you deserve. You can also schedule a consultation by using this online contact form.