If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, you may be facing a confusing, difficult, and time-consuming process. However, an experienced lawyer can help alleviate many of these stressors and help you prepare for the personal injury claim process.
The Arizona Personal Injury Claim Process
Although the personal injury claim process does follow some basic steps, the unique factors of each case can impact each step. Still, there are some of the more basic steps that may happen during the claims process.
- Consulting with an attorney. Your first step is consulting with an attorney to determine if you have a valid claim, the extent and severity of your injuries, the types of damages you may be entitled to, and your legal options. The statute of limitations in Arizona is two years. Therefore, you only have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
- Investigating Your Claim. Once you have hired an attorney, the legal team will investigate your claim. The investigation process may include reviews of police reports, the accident scene, witness testimony, medical records, cell phone records, and more. Depending on the type of case, the legal team may also need to talk to expert witnesses, accident reconstructionists
- Filing a Demand. Initially, your attorney will file a demand for a settlement. The demand letter will outline your case, including liability and damages you, the plaintiff, is demanding. The letter will be reviewed by the defendant and rejected or denied, or they may counteroffer.
- Filing a Lawsuit. If your personal injury lawsuit cannot be settled, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
- After a lawsuit has been filed, attorneys will jump into the discovery phase. Both parties will obtain evidence from one another and evaluate how each side has built their case in order to be prepared for trial.
- Mediation or trial.
Keep in mind that not every case will go to trial and most cases settle before trial. However, at any point in the personal injury claim process, the parties can settle. This means that the personal injury claim process could even settle just before the case goes to trial.
Arbitration or Trial
Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution that takes place outside of court and is not as formal as a trial. Instead of trying the case in front of a judge, the parties dispute their case in front of an arbitrator, who is a non-partisan third-party. Arbitration clauses can be found in a number of agreements, like a cell phone contract or a nursing home admittance contract. Depending on the type of claim you have, arbitration may be required.
However, if you do not have to go through arbitration, mediation may be completed before a trial. During mediation, both parties will attempt to reach an agreement to avoid going to trial. During the mediation process, your attorney will work on your behalf to try to get you a fair settlement.
If the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant cannot come to an agreement, the next phase of the personal injury claim process is the trial. During this process, a judge or jury will evaluate the facts, determine fault, and award damages if they rule in favor of the personal injury victim. Trials can be time-consuming and expensive, which is why many cases will settle beforehand.
Before trial, it is possible for one of the parties to file a summary judgment. A summary judgment is a court order asserting that all the facts are completely one-sided that there doesn’t even need to be a trial. The other party may argue that there are facts that can be tried. The point of a summary judgment is to eliminate the need for trial and essentially settle a claim outside of court.
Following a ruling, the losing party may file an appeal.
The unique variables of each case can change the personal injury claim process. Consulting with an experienced attorney is essential if you are seeking compensation for your injuries. Timing is of the essence. Don’t wait to file your personal injury lawsuit.
Contact an Arizona personal injury lawsuit attorney to get started on your claim.