Once you become injured, do you know who is responsible for personal injury claims and what to do when you need an attorney? One of the highest volumes of lawsuits in the country are malpractice claims; approximately 20,000 are filed each year. Medical malpractice usually happens when a health-care provider deviates from their ethical code and proper standard of care procedures while treating a patient. A patient’s standard of care refers to how a physician, or medical professional, is to treat a patient during their time of crisis
Most individuals will become petrified thinking about walking into a law firm. But what will you do when you need an attorney to speak for you when you are unclear of the future situation? You will need to find a personal injury lawyer that best fits your needs and the type of claim you are needing to file. Needless to say, there are various types of attorneys available that have very unique styles and knowledge about your individual case.
Every case is uniquely different and there is no one particular direction to go. First thing you should do when you need an attorney is to locate several firms you are interested in and set up a consultation after doing your research on the lawyers. After you have selected counsel, they will do a full investigation of your claim. This is done for several reasons and will require some time for them to gather all the information they will need to present your case.
Their portion of the investigation will be the accident, the site the injury took place at, and the police report which recorded the incident. Your attorney will also look over any photographs that may have been taken at the time of the injury, speak with any eyewitnesses, and request your medical records with your permission. This is part of the process because they need to be fully aware of all sides so they can protect you and their investment in you. At this point they will advise you the best route to take that will be in your best interest during this process.
After the investigation is complete, next will be filing the proper documents with the courts and begin the proceedings. The opposing party will be listed as the defendant on the complaint and you will be named the plaintiff. The complaint will inform the courts of the nature of your accident and injuries and the legal reason for holding you liable. The types of damages that you are seeking may require a lengthy negotiation process if the opposite party is found responsible. Afterward, the defendant may file their answer to the complaint with the courts.
During the discover part is when you need an attorney most. After each side has filed and served their initial paperwork, both parties will enter a discovery. This is a formal “exchange of evidence” process between the two opposing sides. During discovery is when your lawyer will present a list of questions, or interrogatories, to the other side.
Their counsel may also submit a request for documents and Both sides may take depositions; also known as a sworn statement. Additionally, your attorney may contact an accident reconstruction expert, and/or medical experts, who can help your counsel to better understand your case and give data reports. If your claim does go to trial this expert(s) will testify on your behalf. In the long scheme of things, this will benefit you and your claim.
Several more steps will be taken after the discovery process, starting with pretrial motions and hearings. This is when the judge has seen everything and sets a date to hear both sides if there was no arrangement decided prior to the paperwork being filed. Next, are settlement and negotiation hearings. Typically both attorneys will try to reach an agreement prior to trial, but if nothing can be decided than trial is the final step.
When reaching this time of the claim, and you are unfamiliar with your state laws, this is when you need an attorney who is well versed in your community and state laws.