Filing a lawsuit after an accident that caused an injury is the best way to get something good out of a bad situation. According to the Barnes Firm, San Francisco personal injury attorneys; you can sue for different accidents.
Vehicles accidents, workplace injuries, amusement park accidents, aviation accidents, even slip and fall injuries. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at the process of actually filing a lawsuit for personal injury.
The first step to any lawsuit is actually determining whether you have a legal claim for a lawsuit. The best way to determine this is through consultation with an attorney.
There are a thousand different things you can sue for after getting injured, and we already listed the most common ones, but you can also sue for defective products, animal attacks, physical assaults, etc.
In order to actually have a case and to actually get compensation, you and your attorney need to prove that the person (or company – it doesn’t need to be a physical person) responsible was acting in a negligent manner.
Essentially, you need to have evidence proving that the accident in question was someone else’s fault, not your own, and that there wasn’t anything for you to do to stop the accident.
When to Hire an Attorney?
Hiring a good attorney should be your first step. Sure, you can get plenty of information online – but an attorney needs to look over everything before you actually file a lawsuit.
It’s more than likely that there is a piece of evidence you’ve overlooked, evidence that will vouch for you, and attorneys are trained to find that sort of evidence.
It’s best to hire an attorney as soon as you’re sure that you actually want to file a lawsuit.
What Qualifies as Evidence?
Depending on the type of accident, there are different kinds of evidence. Vehicular accident will obviously need a police report, while a workplace accident needs the report from your supervisors.
Eyewitness statements are also a great tool, but if there is an actual video of what happened, then you’ll get much more from it than from eyewitness statements.
Even though eyewitness statements hold their weight in court, especially when it’s many witnesses – not a single witness – human memory tends to change details, so a video of the accident is a much better option.
If you needed (or still need) medical treatment, then all documentation of that medical treatment (including the billing) is also needed to determine compensation.
How Long Can I Wait Before Suing?
If possible – don’t wait at all. As a general rule, everything is easier to prove if it’s taken to court immediately after it happens. If you ended up in a hospital and you’re going through treatment and therapy – you’re obviously going to have to wait for a while.
However, file a lawsuit as soon as you can. The exact time frame differs from state to state, while the type of lawsuit also determines how long you can wait. In some countries, you can wait for three years before filing!
In the States, the laws differ in every state, with most of them having a two-year or a three-year waiting period.
You immediately decide whether you want to sue at all, and if you do, start collecting evidence and contacting attorneys immediately. Waiting will only make it more difficult for you and the eyewitnesses to remember what happened.
Not to mention that evidence gets lost – for example, video evidence gets erased after six months in some companies. If you suffered a slip and fall accident or a workplace accident, you might have to rush to subpoena the video evidence of the accident!
Most states don’t allow additional lawsuits – so, if you pass the two or three-year limit, you won’t be allowed to sue. Exceptions to this rule are very rare – but they do happen. For instance, if you were medically incapacitated from suing, the court will most likely let you sue once you’re healthy again.
How Long Does It Take to Settle?
There’s no rule for this, as your attorney will most likely negotiate with an insurance company. If you really are in the right and the other person or company is at fault for your accident – they’ll most likely want to settle out of court.
This is especially common with companies and associations as they want to avoid bad PR and money usually isn’t an issue for them.
The negotiations themselves can take anything from a day to a few years.
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