Filing a personal injury claim is not something people typically have to do often. In fact, most people never have to file an injury lawsuit against someone else. However, if you or a loved one have been harmed due to the negligent actions of someone else, you should be able to recover compensation. Often, the only way to recover money for your losses is to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Here, we want to discuss what you can expect as you move through this process.
Seeking a Free Initial Consultation With an Attorney
The first step in initiating a Newnan personal injury claim against another party should be seeking legal assistance. It is certainly possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against another party without assistance from an attorney. However, the lawsuit process can become incredibly challenging, especially if it becomes necessary to go to court. Representing yourself is often not the best idea for anything more than a very simple claim.
Your free consultation should include meeting with an attorney who can review the initial aspects of your case and help make a determination on the best steps moving forward.
Filing Insurance Claims First
The vast majority of personal injury claims in Georgia do not go to court. Most injury claims are settled through negotiations with insurance carriers involved. The first step is to file a claim with the insurance carrier. However, insurance carriers are notoriously difficult to deal with, and they will likely put up a fight. At the very least, they will make an embarrassingly low offer.
When you have an attorney by your side, you will have an advocate ready to examine every aspect of your claim, craft a demand letter to send to the insurance carrier, and then handle the inevitable negotiations to receive a fair settlement.
However, it is not always possible to resolve the claim with the insurance carriers, and it may be necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit Within the Correct Time Frame
Personal injury lawsuits must be filed in civil court within two years from the day the injury occurs, according to the Georgia personal injury statute of limitations. It is crucial to ensure that any injury claim gets filed on time. Failing to file within the required time frame will result in the case becoming dismissed and the victim being unable to recover compensation for their losses.
The Discovery Process
The first step after a lawsuit gets filed is the discovery process. This is an often lengthy process that involves both the plaintiff and the defendant (the injury victim and the alleged negligent party) exchanging evidence with one another. There may be continued investigations into the incident, in which case the evidence will need to be exchanged with all parties. It is likely that attorneys for both sides will take depositions from various witnesses that could play a role in the eventual trial.
It is not uncommon for both parties to reach a settlement as more evidence comes to light. For example, if fault becomes undeniably clear, one side may choose to settle in order to avoid going to trial.
Taking a Case to Trial
In the event both sides are unable to reach an agreement at any step along the way, the case may eventually end up in front of a personal injury jury. This is where an attorney becomes invaluable. They will have fully prepared for the case reaching this point and will handle every aspect of the trial. This will include presenting evidence to a jury and questioning witnesses.