The Personal Injury Process: How It Works and How It May Help You
Many people find the personal injury process confusing and overwhelming. So, they may choose to deal with their injuries on their own rather than pursue compensation.
We’re here to assure you that the personal injury process does not have to be complicated—particularly with the right representation. In fact, when you work with an experienced team, you may not need to be involved in the process much at all.
Learn how the personal injury process can benefit you after a serious injury.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury claims pursue legal remedies in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct. In contrast to criminal law, civil lawsuits do not involve the government prosecuting the defendant. Rather, personal injury claims involve a private plaintiff seeking compensation for the harm caused by the defendant’s negligence.
The harm experienced is not limited to physical harm in order for the plaintiff to recover compensation. Personal injury claims cover a wide variety of harm done to a plaintiff, including physical, psychological, emotional, financial, and more.
In essence, the main element of a personal injury claim is that you suffered some kind of harm or loss due to another’s negligence or recklessness.
For example, many personal injury claims involve the following:
- Unintentional negligence such as auto accidents, premises liability, product liability, slip and fall accidents, and more
- Intentional misconduct such as assault, battery, and more
How Does the Personal Injury Process Work?
The personal injury process can be short or long, depending on the type of harm sustained, the amount of evidence available, and your legal representation. However, most personal injury cases will require you to take the following steps:
- Seek medical treatment. Make sure to seek medical attention anytime you get harmed due to another’s actions. Do this even if your injuries seem minor. It’s vital that you have a record of medical treatment to use as evidence that you were injured. Without this key evidence, the defense could claim that you were not seriously injured in the incident and you don’t require compensation for recovery.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is key to recovering maximum possible compensation. In fact, more than 90% of plaintiffs with legal representation receive a settlement or award, compared to about half of those who go through the process on their own.
- Your attorney investigates the claim. One of the best reasons to hire a personal injury attorney is that they largely take the matter out of your hands while you focus on recovering your injuries. Your attorney will begin the process by investigating your claim and reviewing your medical records.
- Your attorney makes a demand and negotiates. You can rely on your attorney’s negotiation skills to demand a fair settlement for you, based on your predicted expenses in medical bills, lost wages, and more. If the insurance company or the defendant refuses this demand, your attorney can negotiate with these entities until a fair settlement is reached.
- Your attorney represents you in trial. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will represent your best interests in trial. While most personal injury cases settle before going to trial, it’s vital to have an attorney with the experiences and resources needed to go to trial and win.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
There are many benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney. First and foremost, there is very little risk to you when working with a personal injury attorney. Most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay your attorney a cent unless they secure a settlement or verdict award for you. Then, their fee is deducted from the awarded amount—nothing comes out of your own pocket.
Additionally, many personal injury attorneys—including those at Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers, P.A. —offer free consultations, so there is no downside to calling a firm and learning about your options.
Second, the award you receive will likely be much higher with a skilled attorney in your corner. In fact, plaintiffs with attorneys receive settlements or awards that are $60,000 higher, on average, than those who go through the process on their own. Even after deducting the average fees charged by personal injury attorneys, most plaintiffs with legal representation walk away with about three times as much compensation as unrepresented plaintiffs.
Third, an experienced personal injury attorney will handle the case while keeping your best interests in mind. This gives you the opportunity to rest and focus on recovering from your injuries. Throughout this process, however, it’s important to have an attorney who is responsive and attentive to your needs.
At Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers, P.A., we make customer service a priority. We know the legal process can seem complicated, and we make ourselves available to answer any questions you may have.
Our team also has decades of combined legal experience ready to work for you. We have helped countless clients across Mississippi recover the compensation they are owed. Learn how we can do the same for you.