The legal process for filing a personal injury lawsuit will vary depending on several circumstances, including the type of case. Many factors can complicate a claim, from the type of evidence needed to the number of liable parties. Understanding whether you have a claim for compensation is the first step, and an experienced personal injury attorney will help you navigate the legal system.
How Do You Know if You Have a Personal Injury Claim?
A valid personal injury claim typically arises when another party’s actions or inactions directly cause you harm, resulting in compensatory damages. These types of claims include:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Injuries resulting from a car, motorcycle or truck accident due to another party’s negligence
- Medical malpractice: Harm caused by healthcare professionals through neglect or substandard care
- Workplace accidents: Injuries sustained at work due to unsafe working conditions or lack of proper safety measures
- Slip-and-fall accidents: Injuries occurring on someone else’s property due to hazardous conditions not adequately addressed
- Product liability: Injury caused by defective or dangerous products
After identifying the type of personal injury claim, evaluate the extent of your injuries and the impact on your life. This includes physical pain, emotional distress, medical expenses and loss of income. Consulting a personal injury attorney can clarify your claim’s strength. Remember, the success of a personal injury case hinges on proving the other party’s liability and the extent of your damages.
Protecting Your Claim for Compensation
Your actions in the immediate aftermath of a personal injury can help protect your right to compensation. First, seek medical attention as soon as possible. This ensures your health and safety and creates a medical record documenting your injuries. Follow through with all prescribed treatments and attend follow-up appointments to demonstrate the seriousness and extent of your injuries.
Next, document everything related to the incident. Take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage. Gather eyewitness names and contact information, and keep a detailed record of events and conversations related to the accident.
Avoid discussing the incident or your injuries on social media to ensure the defense has no statement to use against you. Be cautious when speaking with insurance adjusters, and refrain from accepting early settlement offers without consulting a lawyer. Engaging a personal injury attorney early can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate the legal aspects of your claim effectively.
What Are the Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The first stage of any personal injury lawsuit should be a consultation with an experienced attorney. During this meeting, you will discuss the details of your case, including the incident, your injuries and the impact on your life. Should you decide to work together, your attorney will begin the first phase: investigation.
Investigation and Gathering Evidence
The investigation stage involves gathering all relevant evidence to prove the other party’s liability and your damages. Under personal injury law, you are responsible for presenting proof of negligence, which includes four components:
- That the other party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident
- That they breached that duty by violating a law
- That their breach of duty resulted in the accident that caused your injuries
- That the accident and your injuries resulted in damages, including economic and non-economic losses
Your attorney will review all applicable laws and legal precedents that pertain to your case. They draft a demand letter explaining the findings and your losses to present to the defense. If the insurance company does not cooperate, you can file a lawsuit to seek compensation.
Filing the Lawsuit and Discovery
The lawsuit process formally begins with filing a complaint with the court. It outlines your legal claims, the facts of the case and the damages sought. Next, both parties exchange information during the discovery phase. This process includes sworn, out-of-court testimonies known as depositions. Your attorney will draft written questions for the defendant and request documents. The aim is to gather as much information as possible to build a strong case.
Most personal injury cases will settle before the trial phase. Settlement negotiations may occur at any stage but often become more serious after discovery. During this phase, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney or insurance provider negotiate a fair compensation amount. If both parties agree, the case will resolve without going to a costly and lengthy trial.
Trial and Verdict
When settlement negotiations fail, the case proceeds to trial. Trials can be lengthy and involve presenting evidence and arguments before a judge or jury. Your attorney will present your case, call witnesses and cross-examine the defendant’s witnesses. The defense will also have an opportunity to show their side.
After both sides present their cases, the judge or jury deliberates and makes a decision. If the verdict is in your favor, they will determine the amount of compensation you should receive. The verdict considers factors like the severity of injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering you endured. With the assistance of a personal injury attorney, you can ensure the adequate value of your claim.
How Can Hiring an Attorney Help You Build a Personal Injury Case?
Hiring a personal injury attorney offers several significant advantages when pursuing a claim. They possess extensive knowledge of personal injury law, allowing them to advise you through the complex legal system. They understand the nuances of the law and how it applies to your specific case.
Having an attorney can also increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your losses. They will evaluate the extent of your injuries and the impact on your life, ensuring you demand an adequate amount to cover your losses. This can include long-term expenses for medical care and loss of earning capacity. They also know how to identify non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress, and calculate an appropriate monetary value for intangible losses.
Negotiation skills are another key advantage. Personal injury attorneys have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies. They ensure you do not settle for less than the actual value of your claim, a standard risk when individuals negotiate without legal representation. Insurance adjusters have a reputation for acting in bad faith when faced with a substantial payout. However, they are far more likely to cooperate with a legal representative in charge of protecting your rights.
Attorneys fees are the most common deterrent for people needing legal representation. Fortunately, personal injury attorneys typically operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you receive compensation. This arrangement aligns their interests with yours and motivates them to secure the best possible outcome for your claim. Contingency fees make legal services accessible, as you do not need to pay upfront fees.
Where Can You Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney?
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, the personal injury attorneys at Cellino Law can help. We understand the struggles these cases can cause victims and their families. To alleviate some of the burden, we charge no upfront fees and will take on your case with a tenacious fight to protect your rights. Contact Cellino Law to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney today.
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- This letter is to thank Ms. Diane D’Andrea, assistant to Mr. George Gridelli, Attny for all the hard work, dedication, and attentiveness she showed during the representation of my case. She was always cheerful and ready to help in whatever way she could. All messages left for Mr. Gridelli were always relayed and Mr. Gridelli always promptly returned our calls. She was a very competent assistant. Cellino Law has proven to be a model of what legal representation should be. Throughout the 6 ½ years of this case, I have heard many horror stories from people with “bad lawyer stories.” We consider ourselves to be very lucky to have chosen Cellino Law and will always recommend you to those looking for good, honest representation with a personal touch.
- Cellino Law and more specifically my attorney, Gregory V. Pajak, Managing Attorney, and as a whole the Cellino Law Firm and its organization. This is by far one of the most professional law firms and attorney I have ever engaged with and retained in my 35 years. The level of professionalism goes beyond words, the care and constant engagement with me as the client was touching. I was never ever just treated as simply a CASE with potentially a significant dollar number attached to my file. I was engaged regularly, Tracey (Ass’t) and Greg always made sure to remain constant, as well as consistent in overseeing that my case was handled properly and that it did matter in many ways - ensuring that the end result(s) would be fair and reasonable to my case/injury. The regular follow-up calls were very satisfying, knowing that you’re involved in your case matters significantly AND always. One of my main items to recognize Cellino Law and Gregory is that whenever I called, I was able to get through to speak directly to my Lawyer and he would answer any if not all of my questions in a very professional and genuinely caring manner. I always felt cared for and protected legally and more importantly, I was made feel as a human being that was being cared for and always keeping me abreast of all matters connected to the case. There was never a point I felt let down, on the contrary -the level of service was “STELLAR”. Greg is the consummate professional, a ‘role model’, if you will, for what other attorneys should strive to become when dealing with their clients.
- Tim Cellino handled my case beautifully. He is very knowledgeable and patient with all my questions. He kept in touch with me through out my ordeal. Tim also got a settlement for more than I expected. I highly recommend Tim Cellino!
- I am so grateful for your expertise, patience, and perseverance which resulted with such a successful settlement regarding my car accident. I also want to let you know how impressed I was with you and your firm and I won't hesitate to recommend you to anyone who needs assistance from an accident. I truly appreciated your care and professionalism. Thank you again for your kindness and support
- We want to send a big "Thank you" from the both of us. We know you both fought for us and did a great job with our case. You did it in a timely manner and we appreciate it.
Kerrijo & Jerry
- I just want to let you know that I did receive my settlement check. More importantly, I want to thank you again for all you did for both me and my family. I could not be more pleased with my experience at Cellino Law. From the moment I first spoke with you I felt comfortable - you took a sincere interest in my case, clearly explained the process and effected a quick settlement. From this day forward, when someone asks if I can recommend a good lawyer I will, without hesitation, say "Cellino Law". Thanks again.