Accidents can happen anytime to anybody. They do not come with invitations in hand. Hence, you must have sufficient accident cover by way of an insurance policy. You also have an option of suing the person responsible for the accident for causing you personal injury. There are different types of accidents and various types of personal injury claims. In a court of law, you have to prove that the defendant was at fault and that his or her actions caused you this injury. We shall see the steps you have to take to win your personal injury claim.
Document the evidence: A court of law will require you to prove the occurrence of the accident. You should take care of the following.
Write down everything you know and remember about the accident. It should have mention of events before, at the time of, and after the accident.
Make a note of the time of the accident, the weather conditions, as well as the names of people present at the time of the accident.
Mention the reaction of the person causing the action. Was he apologetic or did he help you in getting medical attention and so on.
Find witnesses: Witnesses are very important to prove an accident in the court. In case you are conscious, you may be able to recognize someone in the crowd who could be a witness.
Once you locate the witness, persuade them to make a statement.
Take down the statements and the names and addresses as well as the telephone numbers of the witnesses.
The court will often trust third party witnesses as they tend to be neutral
Photograph the scene of the accident: Photographs can say better than words.
You should take the photograph immediately after the accident to avoid any tampering of the evidence later on.
Use a variety of angles. In case you are injured, ask a family member or a friend to do this job for you.
Photograph your injuries: Lawsuits can take time for delivering decisions. Time would have healed the wounds. The injuries may look dramatic at that time. It can influence the jury.
See a doctor: A doctor’s visit is also an important part of the documentation. As far as possible, see a registered medical practitioner. Preserve his diagnosis, reports, and prescriptions.
Follow his advice with sincerity: The defense usually claims that you have aggravated the injury by not following the advice of the doctor. You should not give any chance to the defendant.
Maintain a diary: Note down the sequence of events on a daily basis in a diary.
Hire a law firm:
Make a list of law firms in the area: The Yellow Pages are the best places to find an attorney to pursue your claim before the court. You can visit the local bar association website for further information in this regard.
Get referrals: This is another easy way to hire a law firm. Your friends might have gone through the same. You can consult them. You can look at the disciplinary records at the bar association to judge the competency of the attorney.
Review the law firm website: You should look for some vital information here. The website can be a treasure trove of information.
Grammar and spelling mistakes: You should avoid such advocates.
Background checks: You should hire a law firm having experience in handling such accident claim cases.
Identify specialists: There are specialist advocates for this purpose. You can avail their services.
Fix up a consultation: The first consultation is usually free. You should produce all the evidence before the advocate for him to take a decision. You should come out clear with your medical as well as criminal record with the law firm. You should highlight the defendants’ assets too. In case the injury is an intentional one, you can claim punitive damages.
Discuss fees: Many attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. You pay them a percentage of your award. This would be in addition to other miscellaneous expenses such as photocopying of evidence, and so on. Discuss every item threadbare.
Prepare your case:
Work out the economic loss: Your loss could be due to loss of work wages or medical fees. You should work out the actual loss. In case you suffer irreversible damage, it may result in a notional loss of future earnings as well. Loss can be due to pain and suffering too. There could be a loss of property too.
File the complaint: Your lawyers will be doing this job for you. The suit should clearly mention the causes of the accident, the facts of the case, and the damages you seek with evidence. You will have to serve one copy on the defendant too.
Engage in discovery: You will have to discover evidence. Similarly, the defendant too has a right to procure evidence. The documentation you did at the initial stage would be of great use now. Be prompt in your replies and rebuttals. Delay can cause prolongation of the lawsuit.
Be ready for deposition: Your law firm will help you in this regard.
Be ready for a medical examination: The defendants may insist of a medical examination again.
Consider settlement out of court: The defendant may come up with an attractive offer to save time. You should be in a position to consider the same on merit. There may be mediators involved. Your law firm will be of assistance in this matter.
Going to trial:
Select a jury: The jury consists of twelve eminent personalities. Your law firm can question the jurors to understand their impartiality quotient. You can also opt for a bench trial instead.
Deliver a strong opening statement: This is the job of your law firm. If you do not conceal any facts, it would find it easy to deliver a strong opening statement.
Present evidence and examine witnesses: The documentation will come in handy now.
Testify: The defendant’s advocate may cross-examine you. In case you are speaking the truth, you need not worry at all.
Deliver an impactful closing statement: This is a very important statement. Your law firm can do it for you.
Wait for the verdict: Once everything is over, you have to wait for the verdict.