“What are the steps of a personal injury claim?”Every case is different, and there is no one way to handle a personal injury matter. That said, below is a general overview of some of the steps in a personal injury case. As discussed below, the Manuel Diaz Law Firm, PC team processes every personal injury case according to our client’s needs and pursues clients’ compensation differently than other law firms. We break the mold, and we like to think that our attorneys have the competency and the tools necessary to obtain the best results for our clients. We value the traditional process of litigation, but we think outside of the box and innovate where we see room for improvement.
Step 1: Consultation With An Attorney
Following an accident, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about the specific circumstances of your case, including:
- Whether the negligence of another party was involved
- If there is a defendant from whom to seek compensation
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- Your medical costs
- Your legal options
Our team provides free, no-obligation consultations and case evaluations.
Step 2: Investigation Of Your Case
If and when you retain counsel, your attorney should fully and independently investigate your personal injury claim, including police reports, the accident scene, photographs, witness testimony, medical records and bills, your employment history and earning power, and more. When appropriate, your attorney should collaborate with accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and other experts in a variety of fields depending on the circumstances of your accident and injuries. Your attorney should also examine the possible defenses of the opposing party and determine liability.
In many cases, your attorney may wish to secure vehicle data from just before the crash from the vehicle’s black box, which will tell us the condition of the vehicle and the road in many cases. Where video surveillance may be helpful to your case, your lawyer may also consider securing footage before it is destroyed.
Further, your attorney may contact accident witnesses and obtain statements. Your attorney should keep you informed and remain responsive to your legal needs.
In addition to undertaking all of the above steps, we provide our clients easy communication and document sharing with your attorney. We make use of several helpful apps to share information simply and enable video conferencing.
Step 3: Demand Package
This step involves a demand for settlement, including a demand letter outlining your case, including liability and damages (injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of life’s enjoyment, and future medical care). This demand letter is then often reviewed by the opposing party, be it an individual, business, and/or insurance company. In response to the letter, the opposing party will generally either reject the demand, make a counteroffer or accept it. The demand letter is often the most important first impression you will make on the opposing party. Putting a quality letter together with a strong legal basis, therefore, is critical.
For this phase, we send you documents, photos, videos, and all documentation. We show the defense what they are dealing with before filing your personal injury lawsuit. Our team will seek a favorable settlement from the defendant, preparing your case for trial from the beginning.
Step 4: Filing A Personal Injury LawsuitIf your case cannot be settled upfront, your attorney may work with you to file a lawsuit seeking compensation.
Step 5: Discovery Phase
Prior to trial, the opposing parties obtain further evidence from one another, and each is able to evaluate the comprehensive nature of the other side’s case. It is often not just what information you seek through the discovery phase; it’s how you do it and how you use it to strengthen the case.
When appropriate, the Manuel Diaz Law Firm, PC team aggressively seeks to turn every stone to gather the appropriate factual background on the case.
Step 6: Mediation
Before or after a lawsuit is filed, a mediator – often a current or former judge – may oversee mediation between the parties in an effort to avoid trial. Mediation is simply an informal proceeding in which the parties attempt to reach an agreement in the matter. The steps one makes in mediation can have long-lasting effects in a case, so it is important to have someone who is trained and experienced in the area.
We have extensive experience with mediation and handling negotiations. Our lawyers have been trained at many of the best negotiation programs, and have extensive experience successfully mediating high-value cases.
Step 7: Trial
If the matter has not been settled or resolved by the court or through mediation or arbitration, the next phase of a case is trial. In this process, a decision-maker – often a jury – will evaluate the facts, determine fault, and possibly award damages.
Our team consists of experienced trial lawyers – lawyers who know what it takes to win. While there can never be any guarantees when a case goes to a jury, we have a strong track record of success we bring to the table.