Soon after an accident happens, insurance firms frequently make an effort to reach a settlement with the injured victim. Essentially, the accident victim will consent to waive their right to sue in exchange for monetary settlement and avoid going to court.
This is an effort to persuade the victim to accept a settlement that is less than what is deserved. However, to improve your chances of securing fair compensation an attorney can negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company and prepare your case for a lawsuit.
Many accident victims find that bringing a lawsuit can strengthen their negotiating position with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider and raise the likelihood that they will receive a higher settlement for their injuries. Let’s take a look at the steps of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Phoenix.
Is Filing a Lawsuit Necessary?
Despite common perceptions, lawyers are not always present in courtrooms during trials. In fact, lawsuits are expensive, time-consuming events that can be emotionally and physically demanding for accident victims.
Depending on the circumstances, reaching a settlement agreement before a lawsuit is even filed may be helpful for both parties from an economic and practical standpoint. Yet, engaging the services of a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit in Phoenix can be extremely beneficial.
Without an attorney, the insurance adjuster is not motivated to offer you the maximum compensatory damages available and has little concern that your case will go to trial because legal proceedings are very expensive and time-consuming.
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Will I Have to Go to Court?
Maybe. But in all likelihood, you won’t. It’s estimated that less than 95% of lawsuits settle before trial. The discussions between the parties will go on even if an informal settlement cannot be achieved as a lawsuit is filed and moves through the legal system.
The motivation to settle may rise or fall as the case develops and both sides have a better understanding of the merits of either side’s argument, depending on how compelling it is.
How Do I Begin to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Phoenix?
Each personal injury case is distinct. However, the majority of Phoenix personal injury claims follow a similar process. To give you a clearer idea of how your case might develop, let’s look at these litigation signposts.
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1. Gather Information
Make sure you have enough proof to back up your claim before submitting a personal injury claim. Most of this can be handled on your behalf by a personal injury lawyer, but it’s a good idea to gather as much paperwork as you can in advance.
Pay particular attention to two categories of information: those that establish your legal entitlement to compensation and those that establish the merits of your claim. Start by keeping track of all medical bills you get and requesting copies if you don’t get them automatically.
You will need proof that your damage was actually brought on by the defendant’s negligence and is protected by their insurance policy in addition to evidence that you were hurt. A police accident report, pictures or videos from the accident scene, and witness statements are all beneficial.
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2. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Not every personal injury necessitates legal counsel, but it’s crucial to estimate your losses accurately. Seek advice from a knowledgeable personal injury legal firm before speaking with the insurance provider or even considering accepting a first settlement offer.
When people file a personal injury lawsuit in Phoenix or anywhere in the country, they are likely to be facing many financial challenges from their injuries and lost wages. For precisely this reason, the vast majority of personal injury attorneys provide no-cost, no-obligation case evaluations.
Bring any supporting documentation you’ve already gathered to your consultation. A personal injury lawyer will also explain all your various legal choices and assist you in determining the true value of your claim.
3. Letter of Demand
Your lawyer will likely put together a demand package to present to the other party’s attorney or the opposing party’s insurance provider once they have finished their first investigation and obtained some crucial information.
A demand package will include a letter of demand setting up the circumstances of the dispute and demonstrating the defendant’s liability. It will demand an amount of money to be paid in order to settle your claim and include documents to support your claim and validate the damages.
The goal is to give the opposing party a chance to resolve the dispute without having to spend the extra time and money necessary to file a lawsuit. They will either accept the offer, negotiate with a counteroffer, or reject it outright. A rejection will result in your lawsuit being filed by your lawyer.
4. Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Phoenix
Your attorney will likely file the documentation to begin a lawsuit if a settlement cannot be reached after the demand package is presented. The two distinct actions required to begin a lawsuit are the submission of a summons and complaint to the relevant court and serving the defendant with a summons and complaint.
The phases of a Phoenix personal injury lawsuit are generally the same and proceed in order. They are:
- Discovery: The pre-trial process in which the plaintiff and defendant exchange evidence
- Motions and hearings before the trial: Pre-trial motions request that the court rule on a matter before a trial. Common pre-trial motions might be motions to compel or motions in limine to request a ruling from the court about whether specific evidence is admissible.
- Trial phase: Most personal injury cases are resolved before going to trial. But if a settlement cannot be reached, a trial will be the next stage in the legal process. A judge or jury, depending on the circumstances, will render a verdict after the trial and render judgment.
Learn More About Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Phoenix
Our attorneys have won settlements worth millions of dollars for clients in our years of service to clients in Phoenix. Zanes Law can assist if you have been injured in Arizona and help you to understand your legal options with a no risk, no obligation, no cost case evaluation. Contact us today to learn more.