The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
If you suffered a personal injury from a car accident, it may be in your best interest to speak to a motor vehicle accident lawyer Greenbelt MD can provide to see if a lawsuit is an option for you. An attorney from Cohen and Cohen, P.C. can review your case during a free no-obligation consultation. If you’re not familiar with the personal injury lawsuit process, this page may answer some of your questions. We encourage you to give us a call so we can address your questions and concerns in depth.
Meeting with a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Greenbelt MD Recommends
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of your own, seek medical treatment if you have not already. The very next step is to consult a Greenbelt MD motor vehicle accident lawyer.
When you meet with the attorney, be sure to bring documentation relevant to your accident and injury. This includes medical records from any care you’ve received since the accident as well any notes you’ve taken about the accident, photos of the accident scene, and contact information for the at-fault driver. Not every motor vehicle accident lawyer in Greenbelt MD offers free consultations, but the professionals at Cohen and Cohen, P.C. encourage you to call us to schedule a no-obligation appointment, free of charge.
Hiring a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Greenbelt MD Drivers Trust
A personal injury lawyer’s level of experience can have a huge impact on the outcome of a lawsuit. When evaluating a potential motor vehicle accident lawyer Greenbelt MD often turns to for representation, be sure to ask key questions during your first meeting. Here are several points to cover:
- What level of experience do they have with similar personal injury cases?
- What is their case record?
- How often do they communicate with clients throughout the lawsuit process?
- What will be their strategy in pursuing this lawsuit?
- Will they call on expert witnesses to provide testimony?
How a Personal Injury Attorney is Paid
Almost every motor vehicle accident lawyer Greenbelt MD has to offer is paid on a contingency basis. This method requires that they win your lawsuit or negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If they cannot successfully negotiate a settlement or they lose the lawsuit if it goes to court, then you don’t owe them anything.
After a successful lawsuit or settlement, your lawyer will likely earn a percentage of the amount he or she recovered on your behalf. Before your lawyer begins working on your case, the fee arrangement should be specified in a written agreement signed by both the client and counsel.
Investigating your Personal Injury Case
At the very start of your case, your lawyer will likely research the details of your motor vehicle accident. The goal is to determine these critical pieces of information which are material to any settlement negotiation or lawsuit:
- Who was at fault? Your attorney will need to be able to prove this.
- How did the motor vehicle accident lead to your injury?
- What is the extent of your injuries? Are they permanent? How long will it take for you to reasonably recover from them?
- What are your accident-related costs? This could include medical treatments, loss of income because your injury prevents you from working, rehabilitation, and more.
- What are the costs for damage sustained to your vehicle and personal property?
Settling Your Personal Injury Case
Very often a motor vehicle accident lawyer Greenbelt MD victims turn to for help is able to settle your case prior to filing a lawsuit. This usually happens in discussions between your lawyer and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company may offer your attorney a monetary settlement. If that happens, your lawyer should report the offer and the amount to you. It is up to you to decide if that offer is acceptable though a motor vehicle accident lawyer Greenbelt MD respects may offer their opinion.
Settling your personal injury case instead of going to trial can be advantageous for several reasons:
- Court cases can be lengthy which will delay any payments you might receive.
- A settlement may yield the same dollar amount as what you might be rewarded following a trial.
- You can avoid the often emotional and stressful experience of going to trial and possibly having to testify.
Pretrial Phases of a Lawsuit
If your attorney and the insurance company are unable to reach a settlement, your attorney will likely move forward with a lawsuit. An assigned judge will set deadlines for each expected phase of the lawsuit. The entire lawsuit process can take anywhere from months to years, depending on how complex your personal injury case is and how the lawyers involved handle it. The process may include:
- Complaint and Answer. During this phase the Complaint alledges how the other driver caused your injury. It likely includes your damages as detailed by your attorney. Complaints are most often filed in the county in which you were injured or where the at fault driver lives. After your lawyer has filed the Complaint, it is served to the defendant or at fault driver. He or she must respond to the Complaint, or have his or her attorney respond if they wish to contest the case. The defendant’s documented response is referred to as the Answer.
- Discovery. The discovery phase may include questioning of each party by the other’s lawyer, which are known as depositions. Depositions may also be taken from experts and witnesses. In addition, the accuser’s and defendant’s attorneys will likely exchange information with each other. This may include:
- Witness testimony
- Physical evidence from the motor vehicle accident scene
- Medical information regarding your injury
- Motions. During this phase the defendant’s lawyer can file a motion which requests the court to dismiss any number of your claims, or possibly the entire case. Your lawyer will likely have limited amount of time (designated by the jurisdiction) during which he or she can file a written argument against the defendant’s motion to dismiss. The Court may choose to hold a hearing to consider both arguments.
At trial, your lawyer will present your side to the judge or jury. Afterward, the defendant’s lawyer will likely present their defense. After arguments from both sides, the jury or judge will decide the following:
- If the defendant is legally responsible for causing your personal injury and
- If found at-fault, the court determines how much money, or damages, the defendant has to pay you.
If you’re considering pursuing damages for your personal injury, contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer Greenbelt MD calls when they need sound legal representation; Cohen and Cohen, P.C. wants to help you get the compensation you deserve.