If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you are probably wondering if you should file a personal injury claim to recover damages. We know that the law and the legal process can be confusing or even intimidating to some people. We want to help educate everyone, who might be interested in filing a personal injury case in Louisiana, on what this process looks like in a typical case. Keep in mind, some of the following steps might not happen in your case if a fair settlement is reached before your case goes all the way to trial. We hope this outline helps you in your decision whether or not to file a personal injury claim.
What are the Steps for Bringing a Personal Injury Case to Court in Louisiana?
1. Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
It would be very unwise to try and take a personal injury claim to court in Louisiana without a personal injury lawyer. The injury law in this state is complex. Furthermore, a good personal injury lawyer will have investigative resources to fully look into your case and gather all of the information that is going to be relevant in helping you secure a favorable result. After your injury, consult with a personal injury attorney to get a professional opinion about your case. They will help you take the next steps and pursue litigation.
2. Your Personal Injury Attorney Investigates the Claim
The first thing your personal injury attorney will do is interview you. They will want you to provide every detail about the accident that you can remember. Following their interview with you, they will gather all of the available medical records and bills, accident reports, witness statements, and whatever other pertinent evidence is available. They will use this information to form the basis of your personal injury case. It can take a while for all of this information to be gathered and reviewed.
3. Your Lawyer Negotiates with the Other Side
In some cases, your personal injury lawyer may reach out to the lawyers or representatives of the insurance company before a lawsuit is even filed to see if they can secure you a fair settlement. An attorney with a wealth of trial experience will have a good idea about how much your injury case is worth, and they will push for a settlement that reflects the full value of your case. An experienced trial lawyer also has more leverage in these preliminary negotiations because the other side knows that if a fair settlement can’t be reached a lawsuit will be filed and they will be taken to trial.
4. A Personal Injury Lawsuit is Filed
In the state of Louisiana there is a one year Statute of Limitations on personal injury cases. This means that your lawsuit needs to be filed with the court no more than one year from the date of your accident. Once your personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit the litigation phase of your case officially begins.
5. Discovery Phase
Now that your personal injury lawsuit has been officially filed, the discovery phase of your case begins. Simply put, this is when both sides, your lawyer and the other side’s lawyer, investigate what the injury claims and legal defenses are. Both sides will request documents and reports, interview witnesses, and take depositions. Depending on the complexity of the injury case this part of the process could take some time to complete.
6. Further Negotiations and Mediation
As the discovery phase of your case winds down, your lawyer and the lawyer for the other side will typically talk about settlement to see if an agreement can be reached before trial. This is when it really pays to have a personal injury attorney with trial experience under their belt. The lawyers for the other party and the representatives for the insurance companies will know your attorney’s reputation, and if your lawyer has a reputation for settling cases and not taking cases to trial to pursue maximum compensation under the law, you probably won’t get a fair settlement offer before trial. In some cases, your case may go into mediation to see if a fair settlement can be reached by both parties without having to go to trial.
If your lawyer is unable to get you a fair and reasonable settlement before trial, your case will go to court. Depending on your case the length of time it is in court will vary. Some cases take only a few days, and others take multiple weeks to conclude. There are many facets of a personal injury trial that we will cover in another blog post. If you hire a skilled personal injury lawyer with trial experience, you will have a skilled litigator on your side arguing your case in front of the judge and jury. Ultimately, at this stage the decision is left in the hands of the jury or judge.
Baton Rouge Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have been hurt in an accident, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Murphy Law Firm. We have over 150 years of litigation experience. We are trial lawyers who defend injured victims. We will help you stand up to the big insurance companies and get fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to learn more about our team and your case. You can call Murphy Law Firm at any time at (225) 928-8800. Don’t be a victim twice!