After a terrible accident, victims often don’t know where to turn. As medical bills start arriving in the mailbox, they are unsure about whether they can continue to pay their other expenses. Ultimately, if you have been injured, it is in your best interests to fully understand the stages of a personal injury case to help ensure your best chances of recovering full compensation for your damages.
Documenting Your Injuries
After a truck accident or car accident, you will want to get immediate medical treatment. Prompt medical intervention increases your chances of making a full recovery. It is also necessary to document the extent and severity of your injuries. Even if you think your injuries are minor, go to the doctor or hospital.
As soon as you are able, take vivid color photographs of all burns, cuts, and bruises. Some of them might fade in the ensuing months, so you want documentation of how badly you were injured. Also keep a pain journal in which you document the location and severity of any pain.
Meeting with an Attorney
In South Carolina, you only have three years from the car or truck accident to bring a lawsuit. Although that might sound like a long time, you should meet with a South Carolina personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to review the circumstances surrounding your accident.
The initial consultation should be confidential, and it gives you a chance to describe what happened and ask the lawyer any questions. The lawyer can also assess whether you have a valid legal claim or identify what other information is necessary. If you like the lawyer, you can hire him or her and formalize the relationship by signing an engagement letter.
Filing Court Papers
You start a lawsuit by filing a complaint in an appropriate court and serving a copy of the complaint and a summons on the person responsible for the accident. The defendant must file a response within 30 days. In your complaint, you explain generally what happened and identify how much compensation you want, called “damages.”
Engaging in Fact-Finding
Every lawsuit has a fact-finding phase called discovery. Although your lawyer can engage in informal investigation before even filing a lawsuit, discovery lets you request information from the defendant. For example, you might want the other driver’s cell phone records to see if they were talking on the phone or sending a text when the accident happened.
Most car and truck accident cases settle outside of court. As part of settlement negotiations, your lawyer will identify how much compensation you want and consider any counter-offers from the defendant’s insurance company. Each side typically goes back and forth many times before hitting on a number they can agree to.
To help the settlement process, you might attend mediation. At mediation, a third party neutral, called the mediator, will help each side talk about their disagreements and come up with a mutual resolution to the case. You can attend mediation with your attorney.
Find out More from a Lexington Personal Injury Lawyer
Car and truck accident victims need compensation to cover medical expenses and replace lost wages. At Walker Morgan, our personal injury lawyers have handled accident cases for more than 30 years. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.