Filing a lawsuit sounds intimidating but does not have to be. Exploring when filing a lawsuit can be helpful and the steps involved can make this process easier. This is an important decision that you do not have to face alone. An experienced Kansas City auto accident lawyer can help you figure out the best legal options given your unique situation.
Deciding Whether to Sue for Personal Injuries
Car accidents are some of the most common reasons people sue for personal injuries. A car accident claim can be filed with the auto insurance company, but there is no guarantee of compensation. Some insurance companies will deny compensation or offer less compensation than you need.
When you start adding up all the expenses caused by the accident, you might be looking at a lot of money lost. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the compensation you need, you might be able to negotiate a settlement yourself or with the help of a lawyer. In cases where this fails and mediation is denied, filing a personal injury lawsuit may become the only option left.
When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In terms of when to file a personal injury lawsuit, this depends on how much you need the compensation. Weighing the costs and benefits can help. If there are more benefits than costs for filing a lawsuit, filing a lawsuit could be beneficial. Contacting a Kansas City accident lawyer can also be helpful for deciding.
Be wary about the statute of limitations on personal injury claims. Once this runs out, you may not be able to sue. Gathering evidence and building up a personal injury lawsuit can take several months. Keeping this in mind is important.
You know you might be dealing with a personal injury case when someone else caused your injuries. The cause must be negligent, intentional, or fall under strict liability. Negligence means any careless or reckless action that led to the accident that caused your injuries. Common car accident examples include running red lights, speeding, or tailgating.
Intentional wrongs are actions taken with the intention to harm you. For car accidents, this could be a driver who intentionally ran into your car. Strict liability is when the party is held at fault regardless of intention. Defective products that harm consumers are the most common example. If a defective car part caused an accident, you might be able to sue the manufacturer or mechanic.
The Process: Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be a long process. You will be expected to prove four parts of the personal injury claim to the court. These include:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
The hardest one to prove is a breach of duty, which can take the form of negligence, intentional wrongs, or strict liability.
Evidence will be needed to prove a breach of duty and damages. The duty of care and causation might be proven in different ways, something an experienced lawyer can guide you on. Damages vary depending on the harm you suffered and may include:
- Medical bills for personal injuries
- Psychological harm such as pain and suffering
- Lost wages from missed work
- Future lost earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment
- Property damages
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Calculating these damages in financial terms is vital for any personal injury lawsuit. Knowing how much money you are reasonably owed is what you will be negotiating during the trial. Preparing for trial means collecting as much evidence as you can such as pictures, videos, receipts, bill statements, and medical records. In some cases, a police report might be required.
Steps Involved in Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
- File a complaint. The steps of a personal injury lawsuit may vary depending on whether a settlement is reached sooner or during the trial. Usually, the first step is to file an initial complaint against the insurance company or person who caused your damages. Then a summons will be sent to the party who will be the defendant. If the party does not respond, they will be deemed guilty. Those who do respond may offer a settlement, which avoids going to trial, or they will file a counterclaim. You can file a response to the counterclaim, but if this fails to result in a resolution, the case may go to a court trial.
- Participate in the discovery process. The discovery process leading up to the trial involves both parties sharing and exchanging relevant information. This may involve documents, written statements, or depositions from witnesses. Ways to avoid trial are reaching a settlement or filing a motion. An experienced lawyer can help you with this.
- Go to trial. Sometimes a personal injury trial cannot be avoided. A personal injury trial starts with jury selection and involves opening statements, witness testimonies, closing arguments, and jury deliberation. The jury will make the final decision on whether to offer you compensation and how much compensation you are owed.
Why Hire an Attorney for Your Personal Injury Case
Your lawyer can represent you in court and make efforts to maximize your compensation. This means, you could potentially obtain more compensation with the help of an attorney. Lawyers are trained in finding ways to increase compensation, negotiate deals, and uncover unfair deals. To do this, your attorney will:
- Collect evidence
- Defend your claim
- Organize documents
- Gather witnesses
- File legal paperwork
- Explore all legal options
Making the decision to file a personal injury lawsuit can be scary. You do not have to do this alone. Consider consulting with a Kansas City lawyer about your situation and your available options. A lawyer can help you navigate your situation to guide you in a direction that may offer more benefits.