What constitutes a personal injury lawsuit?
What is personal injury law?
Personal injury law applies to situations when a defendant’s negligence, regardless of intention, is accused of causing an accident that inflicted injury or harm on a plaintiff. Personal injury lawyers provide legal representation to people who have been injured, physically or mentally, as a direct result of negligence or wrongdoing by another person, company, government agency or other entity.
If you or someone you know is the victim of personal injury, we strongly urge you to seek legal representation by calling Wilshire Law Firm today for your free case evaluation.
Our team is available 24/7, 365 at 1-800-522-7274.
We look forward to helping you seek the justice you deserve.
For a full list of types of personal injury case types, go here.
How do personal injury lawsuits work?
The two most common forms or personal injury legal procedures are:
- Informal settlements
- Formal lawsuits
Most cases are resolved in the form of an early settlement, between the:
- Insurance companies
- Representing attorneys
Settlements are commonly agreed upon, after a series of negotiations, which are finalized by a written agreement that is signed by both parties.
These agreements (which are also known as “releases”) usually contain a dollar amount to be given to the plaintiff by the defendant’s insurance carrier in exchange for no further legal action or lawsuits.
Steps of an informal settlement include:
- Demand – After a dispute, the plaintiff will make an informal demand. The defendant’s insurance carrier will then reply to the demand. This may turn into informal discussions. You should hire an attorney at this point in the process. If you don’t, you could be leaving a considerable amount of money on the table.
- Pre-litigation settlement discussions – This step is the last chance at avoiding a formal lawsuit. Both parties and their lawyers will discuss a potential resolution. Sometimes, all it takes is a few instances of communication.
- Litigation – If the two parties can’t work out a deal during informal discussions, the plaintiff’s attorney will make a decision to file or a suit or release the file.
Unlike criminal cases (government vs. citizen), formal personal injury lawsuits involve a private person (the “plaintiff”) filing a law suit against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the “defendant”).
Usually, the plaintiff will claim that the defendant’s negligence, irresponsibility, or carelessness (regardless of intention), directly resulted in accident injury or harm.
Steps of a formal lawsuit include:
- All steps of the Informal Settlement are exhausted (did not find a resolution).
- Filing the lawsuit – If informal attempts fail at coming to an agreed-upon resolution, formal action may be started by filing a lawsuit. This begins what is known as “formal litigations.”
- Answer – Once the defendant is “served,” it must provide a formal “answer” within a prescribed time. If the defendant doesn’t respond in time, it will “default” the case and most certainly lose.
- Discovery – Known as “pre-trial discovery,” this part of the formal lawsuit involves both parties requesting evidence from each other. This can often lead to depositions (interviewing witnesses or relevant experts), examining documents, or physical evidence.
- Motions – Each party may compel the other to take certain actions using “motions.” It is up to the judge to decide if the motion is valid and if the opposing party needs adhere to it.
- Judge’s pretrial conference – Before the trial begins, the court will order a conference with all parties to narrow the issues down further, and, in some cases, reach a settlement. This is the final step before the case goes to trial.
- The trial – Oral arguments in front of a judge and sometimes jury of peers. This is when talented trial attorneys go to work for you to get you a fair and just case resolution.
- Judgment – After the trial is over, the judge or jury will deliberate and make a decision as to what amount the defendant will have to pay the plaintiff.
- Post-trial motions and appeals – This is an opportunity for the losing side to convince the original judge that another remedy is sufficient. This could lead to an appeal.
- Collection – The winning party is responsible for collecting the “judgment.” This is not always as easy as it sounds, as the defendant’s assets may be difficult to locate if you are not working with an experienced, award-winning personal injury attorney.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to properly handling a personal injury lawsuit. However, staying informed will only help you choose the right attorney to pursue your case.
It is imperative that you seek the best California personal injury representation, to take full advantage of the legal parameters that are in place, and protect your family’s wellbeing from powerful big business and unfair insurance companies.
The award-winning personal injury attorneys of Wilshire Law Firm exceed client expectations every day, and we look forward to exceeding your expectations very soon!
Call now for your free, no-obligation case evaluation: 1-800-522-7274.