The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to provide an injured party with some kind of recourse and financial retribution from the person who caused the accident. The most familiar types of personal injury claims are those involving traffic or workplace accidents, but accidents involving product defects, medical or dental malpractice, and negligence claims are also very commonplace.
If you have been involved in such an incident and plan to file a personal injury claim, there are five important things you should know about the process before getting underway.
1. Don’t Miss the Deadline
In most jurisdictions, there is a limit to the amount of time that can pass between the initial incident and the filing of the lawsuit in the proper court. If you wait too long before filing a claim, you will be no longer eligible to seek redress through the courts. The length of time differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Therefore, it is very important that you consult a legal professional as soon as possible after an incident has taken place. If you feel that you are owed redress, make sure that you do not waste any time waiting around. Instead, contact an attorney or personal injury solicitor immediately for advice.
2. Contact the Right Professional
Not all legal professionals are equally adept. It is not a good idea to select an attorney or personal injury solicitor at random. Be sure to select a firm or practitioner with experience in your field and one with a proven track record for success. Check online to see whether former clients are satisfied. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations of professionals with whom they have had successful dealings. However, in the end, your choice should be made upon whether you feel comfortable, are confident and you feel that you can trust what that individual tells you. If you feel that you cannot, then you should simply walk away.
3. Do Not Pay Up Front
When you are the plaintiff of a case, you should not have to pay upfront legal fees or solicitor’s or attorney’s costs. Moreover, you should not have to pay unless you win. Such a fee is normally between 25 and 40 percent of the amount awarded, dependent on where you live and who you hire.
4. You Will Be Under Observations
If you file a personal injury claim, you will almost certainly be put under observation by the opposing side’s attorneys or solicitors. To do their job properly, they must learn as much about you as possible, in case something turns up that can help their side. They will seek to discover anything about you that might impeach your testimony, embarrass you, or paint you in a negative light. Therefore, if you are hiding anything, or if you have secrets that you do not wish to be revealed publicly, you might want to strongly think again taking the matter to court. Legal professionals and their investigative colleagues are very talented at unearthing things that can humiliate you and dissuade you from pursuing legal recourse.
5. Winning is not guaranteed
Be aware that you are not guaranteed to win. Many attorneys, personal injury solicitors, and even friends or relatives may tell you over and over that you are a shoo-in to win the case. However, this simply is not true. There are many factors that can cause the judgment to go the other way. Moreover, even if you do win, the judgment amount may be nowhere near as large as you expect it to be. Therefore, do not behave foolishly. Do not spend money you do not yet have. Do not undertake financial commitments that you cannot afford without a substantial settlement or judgment amount as ultimately that money may never materialize.
Remembering the above five things will make your personal injury claim process move much more smoothly. It will keep you from being surprised and upset by unpleasantness and it will keep you from making mistakes, whether financial or legal.