A personal injury lawsuit is a useful tool for holding an individual or entity responsible for the harm they have caused you. However, the process can be complicated, and it is generally best to have an experienced attorney handle the details of your case for you.
The personal injury lawyers at Schmidt Kramer have filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of our clients, and we can help guide you through this process. We can explain each stage of the process and aggressively defend your right to compensation and justice.
Schedule a free consultation with a caring attorney today: (717) 888-8888
1. Initial Consultation
A personal injury claim begins with an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer. Schmidt Kramer provides a complimentary consultation in which our clients meet with an experienced attorney to discuss the details of their case.
During the consultation, we will discuss how the accident happened and the extent of your injuries. We will help determine whether another party’s negligence caused your accident and how you may be entitled to recover compensation.
During the consultation, we will also discuss our payment structure and how we recover fees. At Schmidt Kramer, our clients pay us nothing unless we secure financial recovery on their behalf. After this consultation, the lawyer may suggest a strategy to help you pursue compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
Our team will then conduct an investigation into the cause of your accident. We may collect and review evidence relevant to your claim, such as:
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Medical records
We may have to take additional steps to secure other evidence related to your claim, such as electronic vehicle data or surveillance footage from nearby cameras that may have captured the accident. We may hire experts to determine how it will impact your earning power and how long it will likely take you to get your life back to normal again.
3. Demand Letter
After an investigation, our personal injury attorneys usually submit a demand letter to the opposing party, which is often an insurance company. This letter will explain how the accident happened and why the at-fault party was responsible for it.
The letter will also ask the other party to pay a certain amount of compensation based on the injuries you have suffered, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the other party does not agree to pay the demanded amount of compensation, they may provide a counter-offer. If a settlement is not reached at this stage, the case may proceed to a lawsuit.
4. Filing a Complaint
Your lawyer can then help prepare a complaint that sets out your legal right to recover compensation. A complaint is usually the first legal document filed in a lawsuit. It will detail how the accident occurred and how much compensation you are seeking against the at-fault party. He or she will then have an opportunity to respond to this complaint.
5. Preparation of Discovery Requests and Answers
Your attorney will obtain additional evidence through the formal discovery process.
Your lawyer may send a list of questions to the at-fault party (the defendant) to attempt to gain more information for building your case. The defendant may also send a list of questions for you to answer.
Your lawyer may also request depositions, which are recorded interviews with parties or witnesses that are taken under oath.
6. Pretrial Motions and Hearings
The parties’ lawyers may file pretrial motions and request court hearings based on various legal grounds. For example, the defendant’s attorney may try to get the case dismissed for lack of evidence.
In other situations, your lawyer may file a motion to compel, ordering the opposing party to take action if they did not provide information requested during the discovery process (step 5).
Both attorneys may ask the judge to rule on the case before a trial in the form of a summary judgment.
7. Settlement Negotiations
Prior to going to trial, both parties will likely seek to reach a settlement so the case does not have to go to trial. They can enter into a settlement at any point before the judgment (when the court issues a decision on the case) and sometimes even after a judgment is made in the case.
The defendant may offer you monetary compensation. The amount of compensation offered often depends on whether there is strong evidence against the defendant and the probability of you winning in trial.
Because going to trial is expensive and time-consuming, it is generally in the best interest of both parties to reach a settlement before trial. In fact, most personal injury cases settle before trial. However, if the at-fault party refuses to settle for a fair amount, your lawyer will pursue trial to help get the compensation you need.
At trial, your attorney and the defense attorney will present their arguments and the evidence they have collected before the judge and jury. This may involve presenting your medical records, pictures of the accident scene or other records. The attorneys may also call witnesses, and potentially both parties, to testify and tell their side of the story.
After both sides present their case, the judge or jury deliberates on who is at fault for the accident. If the judge or jury determines that the defendant is at fault, they then determine how much to award you in compensation.
Contact a Lawyer for Help
The process of filing a lawsuit and pursuing compensation against the at-fault party is often complex and requires the assistance of someone familiar with the legal process. Your lawyer at Schmidt Kramer can help with all of the steps described here.
He or she can file the required legal documents in a timely manner to protect your rights. He or she can also take steps to maximize your potential recovery of compensation. If there are any steps after the trial that are necessary, such as an enforcement action or appeal, he or she can advise you on these matters as well.
Schedule your free consultation today. We charge no upfront fees, so there is no risk to you to talk to us about your case.