San Jose Personal Injury Attorney Discusses the Steps After Your Personal Injury
No one begins the day thinking that they will need the services of a San Jose personal injury attorney. However, when something goes terribly wrong and you suffer an injury, that’s exactly the help you need. Selecting a San Jose personal injury lawyer isn’t necessarily the first step in the process. Here’s a look at the things you can do to ensure that you have a stronger personal injury lawsuit.
The scene of an accident is chaotic. Whether it was a car crash, a slip and fall, or something else, chances are good that it attracted an audience. Moreover, emergency response personnel may have been called to the scene. In addition to all of that chaos, you were hurt, which means the accident scene may not be the best place for you to collect evidence. However, if you can begin documenting at the scene, you may be able to present a stronger case for your personal injury lawsuit. Evidence can consist of many things. Photographs of the accident scene can be indispensable. These can include photographs of damage and anything that gives an indication of where you were and what happened. Your San Jose personal injury attorney can use this evidence to help build your case. Your attorney will also be interested in your recollection of the events. Since things happen quickly after an accident it makes sense to keep a written record that includes everything you can remember about the accident and what happened afterward. This could include doctor appointments, missed days at work, and recording all of the ways that your life has been impacted by the accident.
Rely on Official Records
Medical charts and bills along with the official police report can be valuable evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. These documents are a record of the incident and the damage you suffered. You can obtain copies of all of these records simply by asking. Alternatively, if you move forward with hiring a personal injury lawyer, they can help gather this documentation.
Report the Incident
Chances are good that you’ll work closely with your insurance company as you make a personal liability claim. Of course, you can’t begin until you report the accident and how you were affected by it. It’s essential that you report the incident to your insurer as soon as possible, if it’s necessary. This allows them to take immediate action. Since your injuries are likely the result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness you may be working with their insurance company too. Keep records of all interactions you have with any insurance companies. Take detailed notes about who you talked with, when, and what topics were discussed. Make certain to hang on to any documents or correspondence received from an insurance company. Once again, all of this information can become evidence if you file a personal injury lawsuit.
Seek Legal Advice
Insurance companies don’t always act in good faith when it comes to paying claims. On the other hand, some people don’t have sufficient insurance or the right kind of coverage to adequately compensate the victim for their injuries. In these cases it becomes necessary to hire a San Jose personal injury lawyer. Most attorneys, such as those at the Costanzo Law Firm, offer a free consultation. This means that they will meet with a potential client, usually for about an hour, free of charge. The consultation provides an opportunity for the attorney and potential client to meet and discuss the situation. Potential clients tell the attorney what happened to them, and the attorney may ask questions to get a clearer picture of the details. The attorney may present options for proceeding with the case and discuss general matters related to the prosecution process.
Before Filing a Lawsuit
If the attorney and client agree to work together, it’s likely that the lawyer will begin an investigation to see if the defendant has sufficient assets and insurance to make pursuing the case worthwhile. An investigation that yields promising results may lead the attorney to accept the case. Occasionally, the attorney will refer the client to another practitioner or conclude that no viable case exists. If this occurs, potential clients can get second or even third opinions by meeting with additional attorneys.
Filing the Complaint
The attorney and client sign a representation agreement that governs their relationship. After this, the attorney drafts a complaint. When the complaint is filed, it is served on the defendant and the lawsuit officially begins. The defendant may be required to provide immediate notice of the lawsuit to their insurer.
Known as the discovery phase, this is one of the early steps in the lawsuit during which both sides gather evidence and share it with the other side. This is when the evidence gathered by the victim becomes important. The notes, photographs, and records can be used to prove or bolster the plaintiff’s case. Depositions may be taken, and both sides make attempts to settle the case before it must go to trial.
Arbitration and Settlement Conferences
Going to trial is time-consuming and costly. That’s why the American justice system is designed to help parties settle cases before they reach this point. In fact, most personal injury lawsuits never make it to the trial phase. They settle during arbitration or other negotiation efforts.
Going to Trial
While going to trial is rare it does happen. The trial may take several days, and a judge or jury usually has responsibility for making a decision regarding who was at fault and how much they should pay the injured party.
Contact a San Jose Personal Injury Attorney Today
Call the Costanzo Law Firm at (408) 993-8493 to ask about a free consultation. A San Jose personal injury attorney helps accident victims every day, and they have the legal skills necessary to evaluate your situation.