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The Anatomy of a Personal Injury Case

Posted on in Car Accidents

gavel-justice-personal-injury-courtroom.jpgWhen you or someone you love is injured in a car crash, or any other situation caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries. This compensation is meant to reimburse you for medical expenses, lost wages, damage to your property, and other types of losses that can be measured financially. Your recovery may also include damages for non-economic considerations like pain, suffering, scarring, and disfigurement. Unfortunately, collecting the compensation you deserve is not always easy, and it is important for you the steps that could be necessary.

Filing Your Claim

In most personal injury matters, the first step is file a claim for damages with the insurance company of the person or entity you believe was at fault for the accident. This process usually includes an exchange of relevant information, in addition to reports filed by the police and witness statements. At this stage of the game, you will probably need to have some type of proof to show the insurance company that their client is responsible for your actions. Most insurance companies are not likely to admit responsibility without convincing evidence.

Depending on the details of your case, the insurer might offer a settlement. It is critically important to remember that accepting a settlement almost always limits your ability to take legal action in the future. You should never agree to a settlement offer without first consulting with your lawyer.

Moving on to a Lawsuit

If negotiations break down, or the insurance company flat-out refuses to accept responsibility for your losses, a settlement may not be possible. Assuming that you still believe the same party should be held liable, your next step is file a personal injury lawsuit. Technically, you have a right to file a lawsuit from the moment you are injured, but in practice, it is a last resort. Going to court is time-consuming, stressful, and difficult on everyone involved.

As your suit gets started, you will need to exchange information with the other party or parties again. This time, the court will supervise this process. While your case is progressing, the other party may offer settlements, especially if the evidence starts to support your case. You can accept a settlement offer at any time and withdraw the suit, but you should only do so after speaking with your attorney.

Proving Your Case

If a settlement is not approved before trial, you have the burden of proof as the claimant. You must convince the jury—or the judge in a bench trial—that things happened the way that you claim. In a civil trial, the standard of proof is “by a preponderance of the evidence,” which means that your version of the story is more likely to be true than not to be true. In certain instances, the defendant may assume the burden of proof, but it is usually up to you and your legal team to prove your claims.

Call Us for Help

Being injured in any type of accident can leave you confused and unsure of what to do next. Contact an experienced Rockford personal injury attorney to get the help you need and to discuss your available options. Call 815-215-7561 for a free consultation at Mannarino & Brasfield today.





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