With regards to personal injury law, there are numerous questions that people may have about the process as a whole, what rights they have, who they’re filing the lawsuit against, and what to expect at each step of the process.
It’s understandable that there are plenty of questions that you may have during this difficult time. To give you some peace of mind on the matter, our Baltimore personal injury lawyers answer some of the most common questions we receive about the process.
By the end of this blog, you should have a clear understanding of what to expect and why it’s so important to have a legal advocate on your side who can help you pursue the most favorable outcome possible.
What Do I Need to File the Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Before you file the personal injury lawsuit, a few things need to happen and there are specific documents that you need. Of course, you must do this within the statute of limitations, which in Maryland is 3 years from the date of the injury.
First, you may not even need to file the lawsuit if the insurance company of the negligence party agrees to pay the adequate settlement you need. However, if they decide to deny the claim, you will need the information you gathered from the injury-causing incident.
This can include the other party’s insurance information, any medical records you may have indicating your injury, accident reports, and more. Having this info is imperative to showing that someone did in fact act in a negligent manner.
I’ve Heard the Term “Motion to Dismiss.” What Is This?
Motion to dismiss is a legal term that describes the process the defendant takes in a case to try and convince a judge to dismiss the lawsuit before it even gets started.
In personal injury matters, it’s typically filed by the insurance company representing the defendant and they ultimately try to devalue your claim. If they are successful, the court may dismiss the case completely and you may appeal the decision and attempt to prove why you should be eligible to pursue compensation.
The motion to dismiss is just one way in which insurance companies try and delay a lawsuit in hopes that you will accept a less-than-adequate settlement offer.
After I File a Lawsuit, What Comes Next?
Once the paperwork has been filed, your legal representation and that of the negligent party will enter what is called the discovery phase. During this process, both sides are allowed to present evidence they have for the case including documents, statements, photos, expert witnesses, and other witnesses.
If witnesses are involved, both sides can ask specific questions to get a better understanding of the incident that caused the injury. These are used to help determine whether fault is easily identifiable and if the defendant is in fact the negligent party.
In many cases, if the discovery process uncovers enough to show that the defendant was liable for the injury, the insurance company of the defendant may offer a settlement that is more appropriate for the injuries sustained. They can still save money as going to trial can be even more expensive.
If I’m Offered a Settlement, Should I Accept It?
The defendant at some point may offer you a settlement. This is their attempt to pay out compensation to you while also saving money. They’re hoping that your bills are piling up quickly and you don’t have the funds to cover it—especially if you’re unable to work.
As such, they’ll offer a settlement they feel is enough, but it doesn’t always help you completely. Instead, it prevents them from paying out maximum compensation and keeps them from paying court fees when you accept the settlement offer.
If you’ve been offered a settlement, there are a few things you want to ask yourself before accepting the offer:
- Will the amount offered to me cover all expenses associated with my injury (e.g., lost income, medical expenses, etc.)?
- Will the settlement give me the closure I want, or should I pursue the case further?
- Will I receive more if I take the case to trial?
Once you have discussed these questions with your attorney, you can have a better understanding of whether to accept the settlement offer.
If I’m Struggling Financially, How Can I Afford Legal Counsel?
At Brown & Barron, we operate in a way similar to many personal injury law firms. We represent injured individuals on a contingency fee basis, which means we only accept fees if and when we’re able to help our clients successfully recover compensation.
The amount we receive is based on a percentage we agree upon with you before we take your case. The cost of the trial is paid out of our own pocket and we’ll front the expenses, so you don’t have to worry about additional financial expenses.
With our Baltimore personal injury attorneys on your side, you can feel peace of mind knowing that you get our skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced representation without having to worry about what comes next. We’ll build a strong case on your behalf and protect your rights every step of the way.
If you’ve suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligent actions, know that you have the right to file the necessary lawsuit to pursue compensation and justice. And we’re here to help you from start to finish.
Call our firm today at (410) 698-1717 and speak with us about your potential legal options.