No matter what kind of personal injury you have sustained, the sooner you file your claim, the better off you’ll be. The first thing to do is to consult a personal injury attorney who can help you determine all liable parties and seek the maximum compensation on your behalf.
You will need to file your claim within the statute of limitations. In Illinois, victims in most personal injury cases will have up to two years to file this claim.
That may sound like plenty of time, but when it comes to evidence and witness testimony, gathering these components while they’re fresh is best. This will provide the ultimate support for your case. For assistance collecting evidence and pursuing compensation, contact the Law Office of Jack M. Shapiro – personal injury lawyer Wheeling.
Take a deeper look at the legal process for personal injury claims below.
Here is a brief guide to what you can expect when you start your personal injury claim.
Quickly obtaining and preserving evidence is imperative in a personal injury case. As the victim, you have the burden of showing that the defendant was negligent and thus liable for the accident that caused your injuries.
Evidence can take many forms and will be different in each case. For car accidents, you’d want to get any footage from nearby security cameras or traffic cameras before it is deleted. Photos and videos of the accident scene before the cars are moved can also help.
Records of your medical treatment, police reports, and witness statements are a few more examples of the types of evidence you can submit for your claim.
When it comes to establishing liability, a personal injury lawyer will be a tremendous asset in your case. If a negligent driver caused the accident, it may also be shown that the accident occurred because of defective parts. They may have had no visibility when making a turn because the local or state government didn’t correct a known problem.
Sometimes, only one person is liable. In other cases, there are many at-fault parties from which you can pursue compensation.
After evidence is gathered and liability is established, your personal injury lawyer can file your claim within the appropriate statute of limitations. You’ll then wait to see if the insurance company makes a settlement offer. If they make an appropriate offer, you can accept and move on. If not, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit.
If your case has to go to court, both sides will start obtaining information about the case. It often starts with interrogatories where each side will send questions to the other. Usually, this is to confirm or deny certain details. After that, depositions may follow in which witnesses provide their testimony under oath.
Subpoenas may be issued to obtain certain records and other information. This process can take a great deal of time, but your attorney will want to leave no stone unturned to get you the justice you deserve.
Most personal injury cases resolve with a settlement, often resulting from what was uncovered during the discovery process. However, if the settlement is inadequate to cover your economic and non-economic damages, the case will then proceed to trial.
As you work with your attorney to file your personal injury claim, there are a few things you can do to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
First, you should be documenting your injuries and the accident scene. If you are truly injured, you should seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries are not evident from the start though, so even if an EMT cleared you, if you notice something isn’t right in the days following, make sure you are seen by a doctor right away.
Keep all your records of any treatments and follow all of the medical recommendations that have been provided to you by your doctor and other experts you’ve seen for your injuries.
Detailed records aren’t just important for your medical treatments. Having photos of your physical injuries as they progress, paystubs to show how much income you lost, photos of the accident scene, police reports, and anything that relates to your accident will come in handy when building a solid case.
You will likely have less privacy during this time as your personal information will be deeply scrutinized. The other side will be preparing their case, and they will look for any little thing they can to negate your claim.
The defendant’s attorney has the right to request specific information about your past that could relate to this case. This can include your medical history, employment records, or even your tax returns. Naturally, your attorney will determine what is legally necessary and look out for your best interest.
In doing so, they may uncover that you have had back problems for years and attempt to argue that the accident didn’t cause your injuries. This is why having detailed documentation about your injuries is essential, and even more so, having an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate through the legal labyrinth.
Whether you slipped and fell at the most popular supermarket in town, or a negligent driver slammed into your vehicle, don’t talk about it online. The defendant’s attorney will be looking for anything you may say about the accident to use against you. For example, if you post photos of yourself dancing at a wedding, you could destroy your chances of receiving compensation.
It’s best not to discuss your accident or injury with anyone except your lawyer. If you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, it can hurt your case.
If you have recently been in any kind of accident, consult a lawyer to find out what you should do and get your case started.