What Is The Trial Process and How Does It Work For You?
How Does the Trial Process Work?
Litigation: Start to Finish
There is a lot of confusion surrounding litigation, what your rights are and what recourse you have. If you are injured as a result of someone’s negligence you have the right to make a claim with the insurance company that represents the person responsible in the accident. If there is not an insurance company in the picture, you will have to file a claim against the person individually. If that claim goes unresolved or unanswered, your recourse is to file a lawsuit in court against those responsible. In order to understand the process a bit better, we will review the litigation process briefly so that you know what to expect.
Your Initial Claim
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, your first step would be to submit a claim to your insurance company. However, before you submit your claim you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your accident. They will be able to help you collect evidence, information, and contacts that will strengthen your claim. Here are a few things you can do to help speed up the process:
- Take pictures of your injury and the location it occurred.
- Write down an objective explanation of how the accident occurred.
- Collect contact information of all witnesses that saw you get injured.
- If there is a police report, ask for a copy.
- Save all medical bills, therapy bills, or any other receipts of expenses you incurred due to the injury.
Give this information to your attorney as soon as possible so you can file your claim. A knowledgeable attorney with particular expertise in personal injury will be very familiar with the insurance claim system and will be able to get things rolling quickly.
Filing a Lawsuit
If your claim fails to resolve through negotiation with the insurance company, then you can file a lawsuit. This is best done with the professional legal advice of your attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to accurately assess your case’s strength and guide you on how to proceed. It is important that you do not wait until the last minute to file your lawsuit, as Illinois has a statute of limitations of two years for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, this “two year clock” begins on the date of the accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit in time, you will not be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
Settling Your Case
Throughout this process, your case could settle. You would receive a monetary settlement that would compensate you for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and any long-term disability that remains as a result of the other party’s negligence. In order to settle, parties may select mediation. This is when you use a neutral third party to help you and the other side to come to an agreement. The majority of cases tend to settle before trial, which is optimal since trials can be long and costly for the client.
Going to Trial
If the insurance company or the defendant does not make a fair and reasonable settlement offer, then your only recourse is a jury trial among twelve of your peers. In a trial, you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent is responsible for your injuries. Preponderance of the evidence is the burden of proof required in a civil trial. If the injured party can prove that more than 50% of the evidence points to the respondent’s actions or inactions as the cause of their injury, they will win the case. The insurance company is then required to pay the injured party the amount the jury has awarded.
Personal injury litigation is extremely complex and may vary depending on the specific facts in your case. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact the Blumenshine Law Group. Call us today! We can help (312) 766-1000.