After you’re injured in an accident, such as in a slip and fall on a poorly-maintained business, or in a crash with a negligent driver, you may be sure that someone else owes you money for your expenses, but you may not be sure how to initiate the recovery process. Several important steps which set the stage for a successful outcome occur early in the life of your personal injury claim. Read on for a run-down of what to expect at the start of a claim for compensation after you’re injured.
First comes the factual investigation phase of your case. You will need to gather copies of any documents you’ve submitted or received from your insurer, any notes or photographs you took after the accident, the contact information of any witnesses, and copies of any police reports filed after the accident. This information will be used to support a demand letter sent to the defendant in your case. A demand letter specifies how much you believe you’re entitled to be paid for your claims, and the basis for that amount. A strong, well-supported demand letter could potentially result in the early settlement of your case. This is one reason why consulting with an attorney as early as possible can save you time and money, as well as leading to the highest possible recovery for your injuries. A lawyer will be able to accurately assess the value of your claims, conduct a more thorough factual investigation based on knowing what factual issues will become important to your case’s success, and make a demand that both ensures you’re paid what you deserve and seems like an offer that would elicit a response from the defendant.
Should the case fail to settle immediately, the next step is to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits are initiated with the filing of a summons and complaint with the appropriate local courthouse. This document lists the essential facts of the incident which resulted in your injuries, and the laws that you believe the defendant violated when they caused those injuries. This document will be served on the defendant within several days or weeks of being filed in court, and will require the defendant to file a response (called an “answer”) within several weeks. Generally, settlement talks will also be ongoing. After the defendant answers the claim, the discovery process—the exchange of documents and deposition testimony—will begin shortly thereafter.
If you’ve been injured in a Hudson Valley car accident, slip and fall, or other accident caused by another’s negligence, contact the experienced and knowledgeable Kingston personal injury law firm Basch & Keegan for a consultation on your claims, at (845) 403-7813.