What Happens in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

personal injury lawsuit

Being in a car accident is so debilitating.  Unfortunately, obtaining fair compensation from the person at fault for the accident can be even more difficult.  Insurance companies know this and will often lowball when making a settlement offer, especially if there is no lawyer representing you when you try to negotiate your claim. I’m often asked what can you do when the insurance company won’t agree to fairly compensate you after a crash.  The answer is simple, yet incredibly complex –  you have to file a lawsuit to make them pay. A personal injury lawsuit is not something to navigate without a lawyer by your side..

But what does the process for recovering compensation entail?

Settling Your Personal Injury Case Before Trial

Personal injury lawyers will tell you that your personal injury lawsuit should remain a personal injury claim.

Claims Vs. Lawsuits: What’s the Difference?

Claims are formal requests for compensation and reimbursement for medical costs from an insurance provider after a personal injury accident. Lawsuits are legal proceedings resolved in court. This is where the injured party sues the at-fault party for damages. While some disputes can be resolved more effectively through the claims procedure, some call for full-blown civil litigation.

Which Route is Right for You?

Your choice might be influenced by your request for compensation, the case’s facts, and how much work you’re willing to put into the litigation. There isn’t always a clear-cut party at fault in car accidents, so you should speak with an attorney if your case is complicated. If the facts so much as hint at you being partially at fault, the insurance company may deny your claim. Sometimes it is better to bring personal injury cases before a jury. A jury may be more understanding than an insurance company looking for a reason to deny liability.

Steps in the St. Louis Personal Injury Claim Process

Gather Documents

An insurance company won’t compensate you for an ad hoc amount of money you create simply because you suffered injuries in a car accident. You must show health care records and medical bills to justify your claim when seeking financial compensation. Proof of lost wages and payments for damage to your vehicle, if any, will be necessary.

File a Personal Injury Claim

A formal claim must be made to the insurance company. The insurance company would have likely received notice of the accident, as insurance adjusters typically require that accidents are reported. An experienced personal injury attorney should assist you with putting this claim together.

Negotiate a Settlement

The initial settlement offer you receive is low, don’t worry. This is normal. Insurance companies aim to save as much money as possible. They will justify this low offer by saying you spent too much on repairs and medical bills. They could also dispute liability altogether. The best option is typically to make a counteroffer, but note that insurance companies want to drag the process along.

Asking for More Money Later

You cannot request more money for personal injury claims under the terms of the settlement agreement you sign when you accept the insurance company’s offer. This is true even if you uncover further damages or injuries. You need a St. Louis personal injury lawyer to ensure adequate personal injury compensation.

The Statute of Limitations

According to Missouri law, you only have five years from the date of injury to file a claim or commence a lawsuit. If you let this time pass, you will likely miss your opportunity to recover compensation altogether.

Taking Your Personal Injury Claim to Court

Even if you have the most straightforward personal injury lawsuit, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. To recover compensation, you may have to go through an entire trial. You can rest assured that you have sound legal representation for your St. Louis personal injury lawsuit from Jett Legal.

Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits

Where the injury escalates to the point of death, a wrongful death claim is made.

What to Prove in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a St. Louis personal injury lawyer brings a claim in court, they have to prove the following:

  • You were owed a duty of care,
  • That duty of care was breached, and
  • Damage was suffered as a result of the breach

In a trial, there will likely be St. Louis personal injury lawyers well-versed in personal injury law on each side trying to prove or disprove these elements.

Steps in a Personal Injury Suit

A personal injury case generally follows these steps:

  1. File initiating documents in court
  2. Serve the other party with these documents
  3. The other party responds to documents
  4. Each side provides additional information, including evidence from the other party, witnesses, experts, and other parties associated with the case
  5. Settlement negotiations and mediation commence
  6. A jury trial is held

An accident involving a severe injury may also require expert evidence from doctors or economists.

Why Personal Injury Lawyers Come in Handy

St. Louis Personal Injury Attorneys Offer Some Protection

Don’t be surprised if an insurance company contacts you asking for a statement. But don’t give them what they’re asking for.

This is a trap.

Avoid speaking with adjusters before first speaking to an attorney. These insurance company phone calls are frequently recorded. Injury victims jeopardize their cases by volunteering the wrong information. The only thing worse than this is settling a claim by releasing the parties from all responsibility for the claim in exchange for a settled sum of money.

In your free case evaluation, ask how you should go about compensation.

Making a Claim for Pain and Suffering

In a personal injury suit, seeking maximum compensation for losses like lost wages and medical bills is much easier than getting pain and suffering damages from emotional distress, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries. A good personal injury lawyer can give a proper estimate of what adequate compensation for severe injuries is likely to be. Your legal team should have enough motor vehicle collision and accidental injury experience to know what you are likely to gain.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

The Jett Legal law firm provides you with an accident lawyer experienced in motorcycle accidents, wrongful death cases, medical malpractice cases, and everything in between. We know our legal duty to our clients and promise to deliver. We operate on a contingency basis, so you have nothing to lose. Schedule your free consultation with us to get the process started.

Author Bio

Matt Jet

Matt Jett is the CEO and Managing Partner of Jett Legal, a Missouri personal injury law firm. With more than 10 years of experience in personal injury, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including car and truck accidents, workers’ compensation, wrongful death, and other cases.

Matt received his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and is a member of the Missouri Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Rising Stars distinction by Super Lawyers 2019-2022.

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