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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Are the Stages in Resolving Your Personal Injury Case? | Breaking Down the Legal Process

When a car accident, slip and fall, or any other incident caused by another's negligence leads to injuries, the injured party may have two legal options: settle the case outside the court or go to trial to recover the compensation they deserve.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have extensive experience representing injured victims in Houston, Texas. They can help with questions like, should I handle my own personal injury claim? It's important for the injured party to reach out to them to discuss their personal injury case and learn more about their legal options.


The Key Stages in Resolving Your Personal Injury Case


The Key Stages in Resolving Your Personal Injury Case


There are several stages involved in resolving a personal injury case, and these include the following:


Investigating the Claim


Investigating the claim is the first and most crucial step in resolving a personal injury case. During this stage, the injured party must gather the evidence to determine liability and start building the claim.


Police reports, medical records, payslips, insurance documents, and pictures of the accident scene are some examples of evidence they may want to gather to prove negligence.


Witness statements can help bolster a personal injury claim. However, reaching out to witnesses can be challenging, especially if the injured victim did not exchange any contact details at the time of the incident. They may want to consider tracking down the witnesses, which can be a time-consuming process.


The legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys ensures minimal disruptions to the affected party and their family when they take on a case.


It can also allocate resources to investigate the accident, gather the necessary evidence, and track down the witnesses to build a strong personal injury claim or a lawsuit.


While the legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys works on the personal injury claim, the injured victim must continue their medical treatment plan and follow their doctor's advice.


Getting Maximum Medical Improvement


There are many legal terms important to personal injury claims, and one of them is maximum medical improvement (MMI).


MMI is when the injured victims exhaust all of the treatment options following their accidents. It refers to a state where the individual's condition cannot improve further.


In most personal injury cases, the injured victims need to reach MMI before filing personal injury claims. This is because it may not be possible to understand the full extent of the damages incurred until the affected party reaches a state that cannot improve any further.


Depending on the types of injuries sustained in an accident, it could take up to two years or more to get maximum medical improvement status. At times, it may be better for the victim to negotiate a personal injury settlement.


After achieving MMI, the treating doctor will issue a final report with details critical to a personal injury case. These include the extent of the injuries, the type of medical care required, and future medical expenses that the victim may incur.


The final document issued by the treating physician can be evidence that the injured party may submit to prove their injuries and strengthen their personal injury claim.


Hiring Expert Witnesses


Another critical aspect of a personal injury claim is expert witnesses. These are professionals with substantial experience in a particular field. They can prove extremely useful to a case, as they may have deep knowledge or expertise that can be valuable when giving testimony.


A car accident, for example, can cause devastating injuries, adversely affecting the victim's life. An experienced psychologist can help evaluate the psychological trauma or emotional distress and help assess the extent of the non-economic damages incurred.


However, hiring an expert witness can be costly, and it may not always be necessary to hire one in a personal injury claim. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have access to reputable and knowledgeable professionals who can provide assistance in a personal injury case. The legal team can assess the need for an expert witness and guide the injured victim accordingly.


Filing a Personal Injury Claim to Recover Compensation


Most personal injury lawsuits get settled outside of the court. However, the legal process can be stressful and tiring. After gathering the necessary evidence and building a claim, it is essential to file it by serving a notice of claim to the at-fault party's insurance company.


Handling the insurance company after filing a personal injury claim can be challenging. Typically, it will lowball a settlement offer, and in most cases, the injured victims may take it so that they can move on with their lives. This is because the claims adjusters often create hurdles for the personal injury claimants in a bid to save the insurer some money.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have a legal team consisting of lawyers with extensive experience working for insurance companies. They know the insider secrets and can help negotiate a maximum settlement on behalf of the injured victims.


It's important to note that even though Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can negotiate a settlement on behalf of the injured victim, ultimately, it is the decision of the claimant to decide whether they want to settle or go to trial.


Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Court


When the insurance company fails to offer fair compensation, the injured party may want to consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in court. Although going to trial can be time-consuming and an expensive legal process, it may be the best decision in some cases.


The process of formal litigation involves filing a complaint in court. After reviewing it, one of the judges will take up the case. In most personal injury lawsuits, the defendant's insurance company will have an attorney handling the case on its behalf. This can make it challenging for the injured party, which is why it is crucial that they seek legal representation.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have a successful trial record. They can help the injured victims circumnavigate the intricacies associated with a personal injury lawsuit, improving their chances of winning in court.


What Are the Steps in Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?


Although an injured person may be able to pursue a lawsuit in court without legal representation, it can adversely impact their chances of winning the suit.


It's essential to seek the help of the best personal injury lawyer in Houston TX. They can adhere to the legal process, build a strong case, and protect the injured victim's rights in court.


There are several steps that a personal injury lawyer may take when pursuing a lawsuit, and these include the following:


Discovery Phase


The discovery phase is one of the most important stages of a personal injury lawsuit. It involves all parties and their attorneys gathering as much information about the accident and injury claim as possible.


During this stage, all the parties involved in the lawsuit may gain access to information that wasn't available previously. This can either make or break a personal injury case. Text message records of the defendant, for example, may prove that the negligent party was using their smartphone before the car accident.


The injured party's attorney may reach out to witnesses, analyze recently surfaced evidence, and compile the necessary material to convey the victim's side of the story in a compelling way.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have a strong grip over personal injury law and previous cases. They can review the details of similar lawsuits heard in the past and use that to increase the injured victim's chances of winning the personal injury lawsuit. They will go over all the defenses against your personal injury claim.


Mediation


Once all the parties involved in a lawsuit gather all the evidence they need during the discovery phase, the legal process gives them one more opportunity to resolve the case. This stage is commonly referred to as mediation.


During mediation, all the parties and their attorneys sit down with a mediator to reach a mutual settlement agreement. They can use the evidence found in the discovery process to negotiate.


Taking a case to trial can take a long time and cost a lot of money, which is why most insurance companies will try to resolve personal injury cases during this stage. However, the lawsuit will proceed to trial if there is no mutual agreement over the settlement.


Trial


A trial is a courtroom hearing that may or may not have a jury present. Both sides will get the chance to give their arguments, provide evidence, and state their closing remarks. The judge or the jury will then announce the verdict and also the settlement amount if the plaintiff wins the case.


Appeals


In some personal injury cases, a trial may not be the end of it. Both parties have the right to appeal the decision if they believe they didn't get the verdict they hoped for.


During appeals, the case moves on to a different judge and jury, which can further elongate the legal process.


Is It Better to Settle a Personal Injury Case in Court?

Is It Better to Settle a Personal Injury Case in Court?


There is no straightforward answer to this question. It all depends on the facts of the case and the needs of the injured victim. There are advantages and disadvantages of both options (settling the personal injury case outside court and going to trial).


Settling a Personal Injury Case Outside of Court


When a personal injury case goes to court, the proceedings become part of public records. Some injured victims may want privacy, which is why they may want to consider settling the lawsuit outside of court.


Another major benefit of settling outside of court is that the process is much quicker than if the injured party were to take the case to trial. If the victim cannot pay their medical bills and is looking for immediate cash settlement, then going to court may not be a wise option for them.


Going to court can be stressful, especially if the injured victim does not have legal representation. They may be unable to focus on their medical treatment or mental health, which can further affect their condition.


Another drawback of a trial is that the outcome is unpredictable. It can go both ways, while a settlement is a guaranteed payment.


That said, there are several disadvantages to settling a personal injury case outside of court, some of which include the following:


  • A settlement can lead to lower compensatory damages than what the victim may actually deserve. This is often true for a personal injury case that involves a serious injury.

  • An out-of-court settlement can be a headache, especially if the insurance company drags out the process.

  • When an injured party accepts a settlement outside court, they forego their right to pursue further compensation or a personal injury lawsuit.

  • Although punitive damages are rare, they are only available to the plaintiff if they take the case to court. An out-of-court settlement can prevent the injured party from recovering punitive damages.


Taking the Personal Injury Case to Court


Before pursuing a personal injury case in court, weighing the advantages and drawbacks of going to trial is important.


One of the key benefits of fighting a personal injury lawsuit in court is that the jury may award a larger amount than what the insurance company may have initially offered during pretrial. Going to court means that there is a possibility of the injured party recovering 100% or more of the damages incurred.


Another advantage of taking a personal injury lawsuit to court is that the jury or judge gets to determine the at-fault party. This is typically not possible in out-of-court settlements, which may not be a good option for those seeking justice or closure.


Taking a personal injury case to trial can pave the way to receiving punitive damages. These are damages awarded by the court to punish the at-fault party for their gross negligence or intentional acts. It can lead to a high recovery amount.


Although going to trial can lead to higher compensation, it may not always be the best option for the injured party. There are disadvantages to taking a personal injury lawsuit to court, some of which include the following:


  • Litigation is unpredictable, and the injured party does not have control over the outcome of the case, which can make the entire process stressful.

  • A trial can take anywhere between several months to a few years, which can delay the compensation the injured party may need.

  • Going to trial means that a good chunk of the compensatory damages awarded by the court can go to the attorneys representing the injured party as part of the legal fees.

  • If an injured party decides to take the personal injury case to court, they have the burden of proof to establish the other party's negligence.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Are Ready to Go to War for the Injured Victims in Texas!


Those who have suffered injuries in Houston, Texas, due to another's negligence or intentional misconduct should call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can help assess the case and guide the injured victims on whether they should settle or go to war against the at-fault party's insurance company in court.

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