Personal Injury Attorneys
The People/Parties Involved in a Personal Injury Claim: More Information About The Individuals Involved In An Injury Lawsuit
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A Personal Injury Case Outline
Some very simple and straightforward claims may be more economically handled by the injured persons themselves. However, the majority of claims or lawsuits will involve complexities that are not obvious to the average person and which may significantly affect the value of their claims.
Since my initial case consultation and evaluation of your Sacramento personal injury claim is free of charge, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having me review your claim.
Even if I'm unable to take your case, I may be able to provide you with valuable tips for resolving your claim yourself or refer you to an experienced specialist attorney who can give you additional help. For an evaluation of your claim, please use my Personal Injury Questionnaire or direct questions to us via Email.
A typical Personal Injury Case will include some or all of the following stages:
- At-Scene Investigation
- Insurance Company Investigation
- Attorney Investigation
The Insurance Claim
- Contacting and Cooperating with Your Own Insurance Company
- Contacting The Negligent Person's Insurance Company
- The Settlement Demand
- When, Why and Where to File a Lawsuit
- Fast Track Court Rules and Requirements
A personal injury case usually begins as a claim brought against the negligent person's insurance coverage (or if none is available, against the injured party's uninsured motorist coverage), or against the internal claims-handling offices of self-insured governmental or corporate entities.
The resolution of a personal injury case, even at this early claims stage, is often a complex and legally complicated process, and includes:
- Determining who specifically may assert the claim.
- Determining the nature, proof and legal valuation of their injuries.
- Preparing and filing all necessary paperwork to establish the claim.
- Protecting against the expiration of a claim due to the passage of a statute of limitations.
- Collecting and presenting evidence of the negligent party's responsibility.
- Presenting and negotiating formal settlement demands.
- Preparing and filing a formal lawsuit, if necessary, to preserve the injured party's legal rights.
If it becomes necessary for a formal lawsuit to be filed, then the personal injury case may also come to require:
- Preparing and filing with court of all documents required by local and state rules.
- Establishing a strategy for exchanging evidence through the process of discovery.
- Participating in mediation or court-ordered arbitration.
- Negotiating with insurance adjustors and defense attorneys for fair settlement of the lawsuit.
- If necessary, preparing for and conducting a trial of the injured person's claim.
- Securing payment of any negotiated settlement, binding award or jury verdict.
The "parties" to the case include the persons who were actually injured and have a right to bring a personal injury claim, as well as any of the injured persons relatives who may also have a right to bring a claim.
Prior to the filing of a lawsuit, these people are referred to as the "claimants," and they become the "plaintiffs" when and if a lawsuit is filed in court. On the other side are the persons who directly caused the injuries, and sometimes the people/corporations/governments who employed the persons who caused the injuries, who owned the vehicles that caused injury, or who owned or controlled the property where the injuries occurred.
These persons are generally referred to as the "insureds" in an insurance claim -- that is, they are the people and entities against whose insurance policies the claim is being submitted. If a lawsuit is filed in court, these will become the "defendants."
An important role played by a personal injury attorney is determining all the potential parties in a case. If a claimant is left out, then his/her rights to recover may be permanently lost. If a defendant is left out, then a potential source of settlement funds may be overlooked.
The Adjustors and Attorneys:
As soon as an accident injury is reported to an insurance company, an "adjustor" (also called a "claims adjustor") will be assigned to handle the claim. The adjustor is usually (but not always) a direct employee of the insurance company.
If more than one insurance company is involved in a single incident, then each and every insurance company will have at least one adjustor assigned to the matter.
An injured person should seek the advice of a "personal injury attorney" regarding any claims they may have the right to make, and if the attorney is formally retained, he/she becomes the legal representative of the claimant(s). If it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit in court and the defendants are served with the legal papers, then they or their insurance company will arrange to hire a "defense attorney" (also known as an "insurance defense attorney") to represent them.
The Legal Team:
No attorney is an island, no attorney can handle every aspect of a client's case, and no attorney is an expert in everything. That's why a good legal team will frequently include private investigators to search out witnesses and physical facts, paralegals to handle the day-to-day paperwork and legal details in a case, and consultants and experts to sort out complicated medical, engineering, and economic information.
Since every claim is unique, the specific members of the legal team who are needed will vary from case to case. Selecting those team members who will best serve a particular client's interests is a primary duty of the personal injury attorney.