Personal injury cases follow a process, just like anything else in the legal world. Whether you’re suffering from a slip and fall, a car accident, or any other kind of injury, it’s helpful to know how your personal injury case will be handled—and in most cases, it will take just 7 main steps.
The 7 Steps of Handling a Personal Injury Case
- The injury or accident. Every injury happens differently, and depending on how severe it is, you may or may not be taken to the hospital immediately by 911. However, if you don’t need emergency medical attention, your injury case really starts at the scene itself. This is your chance to take pictures, talk to witnesses, and inform the property owner or call the police as needed.
- Medical attention. Without some kind of treatment and medical documentation, there really is no personal injury case. That means it’s essential to go to the doctor even if you didn’t need emergency help—both for your own wellbeing, and for the sake of your claim.
- Your initial consultation with an attorney. Whether you intend to hire a lawyer or not, talking to an attorney is one of the most valuable things you can do. You may find out that the insurance company’s initial offer is fair, or you may find out you have a right to much more. You’ll also get a clear sense of whether you have a valid injury case at all—and the steps ahead that you need to plan for. At John Foy & Associates, we offer this consultation for free so you can get a legal opinion with no risk.
- Investigation. If you do choose to hire a lawyer, they will begin the process of investigating your injury and building a case. Of course, you may already know what happened and who’s at fault—but the investigation can turn up crucial evidence to prove your case. This could include anything from security camera footage or maintenance records in a premises liability case, to witness statements or forensic work in a vehicle accident. This is how personal injury cases are won.
- Filing an insurance claim. Next you or your lawyer will need to officially file a claim with the insurer, if you haven’t already, and in many cases send a legal letter that demands a settlement—with a specific dollar amount attached. This is how you move past the insurer’s initial offer and start working to get the full amount you deserve under the law.
- Negotiating a settlement. Many—probably most—personal injury cases come down to negotiation. Your attorney draws on all of the evidence they’ve built, and their sense of how your case would do at trial, and pushes the insurer to make a more reasonable settlement offer. In many cases, they will eventually offer you a fair amount.
- Trial. Although it’s less common, some personal injury cases do proceed to trial. In Georgia, these cases are decided by a jury, and the amount of money awarded (if any) may be higher or lower than what you originally expected. There is no one answer to whether it’s better to accept a settlement or go to trial; it depends on the strength of your case.
Not every case will follow these exact steps, and there are plenty of other legal processes involved in many of them—but in general, this is how a personal case gets handled, from start to finish. Many will end without going through all 7 steps, as the insurer makes an offer you can accept or new information emerges in your case.
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How to Get the Personal Injury Outcome You Deserve
There is no better way to ensure your rights are protected—or to get the full amount of money you deserve—than to have a good lawyer at your side. Let the attorneys of John Foy & Associates help you. We have over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases in Georgia, and we get results. Let us give you a FREE consultation to walk you through your case. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get a FREE consultation today.