A personal injury claim is a term that refers to a legal claim that a person (plaintiff) has for injuries and damages caused by another person (defendant). Personal injury claims may arise in a variety of circumstances, including slip and fall accidents, car crashes, dog bites, bicycle accidents, work accidents, or defective products. Regardless of the type of injury, personal injury claims share a common process and timeline. Before one decides whether to file a lawsuit for personal injuries suffered in an accident, it is important to have a firm grasp of this process. A brief discussion of the common stages within any personal injury claim follows.
Meet With an Attorney and Investigate Your Case
The first step is to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney who will help investigate your claim and take you through the personal injury claim process. The attorney will advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and will advise you on whether you have a legal cause of action. At the end, the attorney will determine whether he can agree to represent you in your case.
Filing a Lawsuit and Pre-Trial Proceedings
If the attorney decides to take your case, then the next step is to file a lawsuit that names the parties who may be responsible for your injuries as defendants. Once the lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff and the defendant or defendants will engage in pre-trial proceedings. Pre-trial proceedings include engaging in discovery to obtain testimony and documents involving the claim. Also during this process, the defendant or defendants will likely try to get the court to resolve the matter before trial by filing various types of motions. The pre-trial proceedings can take months or even year
During trial, each side presents its version of the case to a judge or jury. The judge or jury will hear arguments from both sides. Both sides will present various witnesses and documents to support their respective positions. The length of the trial will depend on the facts of each case and the complexity of the issues involved. At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will issue a finding regarding liability and may award monetary damages to the plaintiff.
After trial, even if you win your personal injury claim, there are additional steps in the process. First, either side may appeal the decision to the appellate court, which can further delay the proceeding and change the ultimate outcome of the case. Eventually, even if you win a money judgment, you still have to collect the judgment, which can take additional time and expense.
Length of Personal Injury Process
The entire length of the process from start to finish will necessarily depend on several factors, including the county or venue where the case is filed. As such, it is difficult to definitely know when a case will be resolved. Nevertheless, by looking at the various facts in one’s personal injury claim, it is possible to have an idea whether the case will be resolved quickly or will take several years.
If you have a strong case and liability is clear on the part of the defendant, then the case may be resolved quickly through a settlement agreement without going to trial. On the other hand, if a claim involves significant medical injuries and multiple defendants who may be liable, the process can take much longer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help investigate your claim and help you understand the various factors involved in your claim.
Contact a Greenville, South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered a personal injury and believe you have a claim, an experienced Greenville personal injury attorney can help. From investigating the facts of your claim to prosecuting a personal injury lawsuit to recovering damages, David R. Price, Jr. will be with you throughout the entire personal injury claims process to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact David R. Price, Jr. for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. You can call us at 864-271-2636. Or, we encourage you to visit our office at 318 West Stone Avenue in Greenville and meet with an attorney.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.