Personal injury suits can be incredibly tricky. Since you’ve just been in a serious accident, it can be difficult to navigate such a potentially-complex process, so letting others help and knowing what you’re getting into, both become extremely important. Here is a handy five-step guide that can help you prepare for a personal injury lawsuit:
1. Hire a Professional Personal Injury Attorney
You have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Illinois. If your injury was not identified right away, you will have a year from the time it was discovered to file a claim. It is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after being hurt so that you can sit down, go over your case, and explain the entire procedure. Your lawyer will give you a comprehensive overview of what will happen, what documents you will need to complete and file, and what you will do if the defendant offers you a settlement. The better the personal injury lawyer you hire is, the more likely you’ll be to receive an impressive settlement from your case.
2. Seek Any Needed Medical Treatment
While you are still at the accident scene, you can start building your personal injury case. Whenever you sustain a bodily injury, you must get help right away for your pressing situation. It’s crucial to let the EMTs provide you with treatment or clear you if they offer to examine you after a car accident, for instance. Allow the EMTs to examine you even if you don’t believe you have been gravely hurt so they can rule out delayed injuries like whiplash and concussion. Many wounds may not manifest symptoms for several hours or days after your injury. That being said, you must get medical attention as soon as your injury occurs. Never deny medical attention after an injury, as this can cause you great harm in the long run. Trust your attorney, and allow yourself to heal as your personal injury case plays out.
3. Prepare and File All Relevant Evidence
If you do not have your evidence in order, you will have a difficult time winning your case. Thankfully, a great lawyer, and a dedicated mindset, can help you gain all your evidence in a legal, professional, and proper fashion. Being organized will help you reduce the stress of filing a personal injury case. You may build a strong case from a straightforward request for compensation by keeping thorough records. When the time comes to appear in court, you don’t want to have to spend time looking for crucial paperwork. As soon as you are hurt, the process of gathering evidence and preserving records gets started. Every piece of evidence, from taking thorough pictures of the accident site to supplying thorough medical records, can support your claim. Pay stubs from your work, detailed medical records, all relevant receipts, pictures, eyewitness interviews, workplace records, and insurance details will all be relevant when it comes to showcasing your evidence (rather it be during the negotiation process, or in a courtroom setting).
4. Prepare for Your First Settlement Offer
Knowing when to accept a settlement offer is one of the key aspects of a successful personal injury case. Although a trial can be a drawn-out process that lasts for several months, your attorney will always work for your best interests. Even though your attorney might receive less-than-ideal settlement proposals, there will be some circumstances in which a settlement offer may be acceptable. Pay close attention to your lawyer’s advice and thoroughly weigh your alternatives. Before even beginning this process, you should sit down and talk with your attorney about how much is an acceptable settlement offer. By doing so, you will ensure you do not become too eager about a less-than-sufficient settlement offer just because you’ve become nervous about the process.
5. Trust Your Attorney’s Instincts
Your lawyer has (ideally) been through many cases like yours in the past, so you should trust their instincts. Although your attorney is used to appearing in court, for many litigants it will be their first time in a courtroom. A courtroom may be a very threatening place. Before your case is heard in court, it is a good idea to attend a courtroom in session with your attorney to have a sense of what to expect on the day of your trial. Because a courtroom is formal, it is assumed that behavior and attire would adhere to proper etiquette. You must demonstrate your respect for the court and the sincerity of your intentions as the claimant. Your attorney’s guidance will ensure that you navigate the personal injury lawsuit you’re dealing with effectively. If you go against their advice, you’ll have a difficult time receiving a fair, full settlement decision.