Every St. Cloud personal injury claim has its own set of unique facts and circumstances, and no two claims are exactly alike. However, some aspects of the personal injury claim process apply to nearly all situations.
At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, we understand the stress and worry that suffering an injury can have on the injured person and their family. Our experienced attorneys are ready to help you understand the legal process and navigate its complexities successfully.
Stage 1: Seeking Medical Attention
After the accident, your health should always be your top priority. If you’ve been injured in some kind of accident, such as a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, etc., the first and most important step is for you to seek immediate medical attention.
It is not unusual that accident victims believe they were not injured in the accident. This is often due to the “shock” of the accident and adrenaline pumping through their body. This can mask the pain and symptoms associated with an injury. Additionally, some types of injuries can take hours, days, or longer to show symptoms.
Whether you have suffered minor injuries or more severe ones, it’s crucial to have a professional medical evaluation. This not only ensures your well-being, but also provides the appropriate documentation of your injuries, which will be crucial for your personal injury claim.
Stage 2: Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer
After receiving medical attention, the next step is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in St. Cloud. You should always choose an attorney who has the requisite experience and knowledge to handle personal injury claims.
During this consultation, you’ll discuss your case’s details, including the accident’s circumstances, injuries, and potential liability. Your lawyer will evaluate the strength of your claim and advise you on the best course of action. This stage allows the lawyer to get information from you, but also for you to determine whether you believe the lawyer will be a good fit for you.
This stage is important because each personal injury case (car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and others) has its own set of unique factors and circumstances. Because of this, there is no way to determine if you have a viable case until you speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Stage 3: Investigation and Gathering Evidence
Once you’ve retained a personal injury lawyer, they will investigate your case. This involves collecting evidence to establish liability and prove the nature and extent of your injuries.
Evidence can include photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, medical records, medical reports, and other relevant documentation. Your attorney will work diligently during this stage to build a strong case on your behalf.
Stage 4: Demand and Negotiating with Insurance Companies
During this stage, your lawyer will take all of the information gathered on your case, and prepare a demand letter to submit to the at-fault party or parties and their insurance companies. The insurance company will review and evaluate your case and make an offer of settlement. Your personal injury lawyer will then negotiate with the insurance company to see if they can obtain a fair settlement.
Having an experienced attorney handle these negotiations is important to ensure the insurance adjusters do not take advantage of you. Your lawyer will advocate for your rights and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
Stage 5: Filing a Lawsuit (If Necessary)
If negotiations with the insurance company do not result in a satisfactory settlement, your personal injury lawyer may advise you to start a lawsuit. This is the stage where formal legal proceedings begin.
Your attorney will prepare legal documents and guide you through the litigation process. Keep in mind that many personal injury cases are resolved through settlements without the need for a trial.
Stage 6: Discovery and Pretrial Preparation
During the pretrial phase, both parties engage in discovery, which involves exchanging information and evidence related to the case, as well as depositions. This process allows each side to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent’s case. It is also common during this stage of the case for you to attend a medical exam set up by the defense. Your personal injury lawyer will use this stage to build a compelling argument in your favor.
Stage 7: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
All courts in Minnesota require that parties to a lawsuit engage in some form of alternative dispute resolution. The most common form of ADR is mediation, where the parties engage a neutral, third-party mediator to work with the parties to see if they can reach a settlement. Another common form of ADR is arbitration, where the parties select an arbitrator to make a binding decision on the case.
Stage 8: Trial and Judgment
If your case proceeds to trial, you and your attorney will present your case before a judge and/or jury. Your lawyer will present evidence, through exhibits and witness testimony, to support your claims. After both sides have presented their cases, the attorneys will get to make a closing argument to the judge or jury. The jury will then deliberate and reach a verdict. If the verdict is in your favor, the court will issue a judgment, determining the compensation you are entitled to.
Stage 9: Post-Trial Motions and Appeals
Following a trial, there may be post-trial motions or appeals if either party believes there were errors in the legal process. Your personal injury lawyer will handle these matters if they arise, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal proceedings.
Understanding the Personal Injury Claims Process
Navigating the stages of a St. Cloud personal injury claim can be challenging, but with the guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer in St. Cloud, you can pursue the compensation you deserve.
Remember that seeking medical attention and consulting with a lawyer should be your priorities after an injury. Your attorney will work tirelessly to build a strong case, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, represent you in court to secure a favorable outcome.
If you have been injured and need assistance with your personal injury claim in St. Cloud, don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury, LLC. Our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers is here to help you every step of the way.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer in St. Cloud, contact us today.