If you’ve been injured in an accident, in a healthcare setting, or by a defective product, you may be eligible to seek financial compensation.
However, the process can be a long and intricate one. Learn what to expect and what steps to take. For specific advice on your matter, consult with an Indiana personal injury attorney.
1. Find Out Whether You Have a Case
To pursue compensation, you must prove that the other party was negligent. In personal injury law, “negligence” consists of the following elements, all of which must be present:
Duty of care: The other party owed you a duty of care. For instance, your employer has a duty of care to provide a safe work environment, and manufacturers have a responsibility to sell safe products.
Breach: The other party breached their duty by failing to exercise reasonable care.
Causation: The breach of care caused your damages.
Establishing negligence can be tricky. An experienced personal injury lawyer from our team at Stewart & Stewart can investigate your case and advise whether you could pursue compensation.
2. File a Claim With the Other Party or Their Insurer
If you have a case, you or your attorney will file a claim with the responsible party or their insurance company. That may be the end of it — many personal injury claims settle out of court, especially if there are few disputed facts and liability is clear.
However, if the other party refuses to settle or makes a low offer, your attorney may file a lawsuit with a local court to pursue maximum compensation.
3. Collect and Prepare the Evidence
This stage is known as discovery. You and your attorney will gather evidence from the opposing party and other sources, such as witnesses and subject matter experts, to build your case.
The other party may also ask to take your deposition. A deposition is an interview in which you answer questions about your claim. Your lawyer will prepare you and will be present during the interview to ensure that opposing counsel doesn’t harass you or ask inappropriate questions.
4. Try To Negotiate a Settlement
After you have exchanged documents and evidence with the opposing side, your attorney will likely attempt another settlement offer. At this time, the defendant may also file motions asking the court to dismiss your claim.
5. Explore Mediation
In a final bid to avoid trial, your attorney may suggest mediation. The court may also order that you attempt mediation.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process. You and the opposing side will present your arguments before an unbiased third party — usually another Indiana personal injury attorney or a retired judge — who will assist you in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.
6. If All Else Fails, Go to Trial
Mediation is quicker and more cost-effective than litigation but isn’t always successful. If you can’t mediate a resolution, your attorney will try your case in court.
A personal injury lawsuit can take time. The perennial court backlogs mean it could be a year or more before the case even reaches trial. The trial itself can last anywhere between a day and several weeks.
Speak to an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney
You shouldn’t navigate personal injury law and the court system alone. A single mistake can jeopardize your claim.
At Stewart & Stewart, we can help you walk through your case confidently and confidentially. Call (866) 925-3011 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.