In a fantasy world, the person responsible for your accident or injuries accepts their fault and is now; willing to pay you the total amount for your medical bills and damages. As I said before, this can only happen in a fantasy.
In the real world, the person responsible would try their best to deny any of your claims: including the insurance company (not necessarily, but let’s prepare for the worst). Therefore, if you or your loved one has been a victim of someone else’s negligence: it’s time for action! (For your attorney, not you. You should rest)
However, the main point of concern is hiring an attorney. Hiring the best attorney can be intimidating, and what’s more intimidating than this is preparing for a trial. You must understand what to expect from an injury attorney and the prosecution. And if that’s what brings you here, then you are at the right place.
Here we will go into every detail about what to expect from your attorney and preparing for trial. Since your lawyer will represent you and your case in court, we will also share a few tips to find the right one for your lawsuit.
Table of Contents
Finding the Right Attorney
The first step to claiming a lawsuit is crucial: it is to find an attorney. Find an attorney that is familiar with the laws of your state. An attorney who knows about cases similar to yours and hence, knows how to deal with them.
For example, you live in San Francisco, and your case covers criminal deaths. Then look for a San Francisco wrongful death lawyer. An attorney with experience handling similar cases; can help you in this situation.
Out of the several ways of looking for the right attorney, a few of them are;
- Get recommendations from your friends and family.
- Search online for respective lawyers.
- Reach your local bar association for legal help. They can recommend a skilled lawyer suitable for your case’s legal field.
Now you have a list of potential attorneys. Now get ready for an immense wave of consultation meetings. Schedule meetings with attorneys, discuss your case and decide which one’s best.
During these meetings, your potential attorneys will ask questions regarding your case, personal information and explain the legal processes. However, while you answer their questions to find the best match, it is equally vital to get your own questions ready to find the right lawyer. We have created a simple list for you to ask your attorney.
- Firstly, hire someone specific to your area. If you have a fender-bender case, find a personal injury lawyer with expertise in car accidents.
- Their fees and payment structure. Some lawyers prefer hourly rates, while others prefer a flat fee. But most lawyers work on a contingency fee plan, which means they get 25%-40% of whatever your recover. By discussing this aspect, you can adjust your budget accordingly and ensure that you receive high-quality legal representation.
- Other than the hiring fee, there is the legal cost. Discuss with your attorney if you’re paying legal costs; before or after paying their hiring fee.
- Your case worth. Although lawyers are not allowed to show you a sparkly future of wins and successes, they may give you an unbiased idea about the fate of your case. If your lawyer exaggerates and guarantees you a win, they’re bluffing, so skip hiring them.
- How long it takes? Of course, one of the first few questions involves this one, too. But your attorney won’t be able to give you an exact answer but rather a ballpark estimate on how long it can take. If they seem devoted to your case and eager to solve it quickly, you know they’re the one for you.
Now that we’re past all the questions and answers, you can pick one of the many potential attorneys. Let’s move to the next step.
Preparing for Trial
Once you’ve decided on an attorney, they will begin preparing for the trial. The timeline of your case is affected by
- Negotiations with your insurance company
- Complexities of your personal injury case
- Timeline for recovering from injuries
Litigation is a long process of waiting between; the day of filing your claim and the actual trial date. Therefore, preparing for trial can take months or even years, depending on the complexity of your case.
Meanwhile, your attorney will not stay still; they will gather evidence, conduct testimonies, mediate, and work with their seniors or experts to build a stronger case. These are steps that need completion before the trial can begin.
Time for truths: that is the truth about the accident. You have to testify here since you are the key witness in your case. Discovery is a vital step where both sides exchange pieces of information. You will be requested to submit evidence and documents to the other party while you get the same.
Then comes the deposition or the interview, where we ask and answer questions. Hence, your attorney will examine you, and the defense party will cross-examine you. Although this sounds stressful and panicky, there is not much to worry about. Your attorney is an expert in this area. They will be present during your depositions to support you and protect your right.
They will prepare you: to remain calm, give honest answers, and show your side of the story in the best possible wording. Don’t let frustrations get the best of you; stay collected during the depositions.
Expect The Unexpected
Although you are here for a personal injury case, you can be answering a personal question, too. It is how the deposition goes; the defendant’s attorney can ask you about yourself, where you live, your work life and income, or your medical history.
These questions seem personal and can catch you off-guard, but it is a two-way street. Your attorney will prepare you for such a line of inquiries and gets to ask the other person about who they are. Truthfully reply to these questions, and don’t try hiding anything.
Expert Witnesses and Evidence
Other than you, there are other witnesses. The medical expert that was looking after you after the accident or the accident reconstruction experts; these witnesses are crucial to building your case. They can recreate the accident scene or testify to your injuries. It is the work of your attorney. They will come up with expert witnesses who can testify convincingly in court.
Then comes the other forgotten witnesses. You may never know the importance of keeping track of medical and car repair bills; until you have to claim a lawsuit.
Find any evidence you can, including; photos, videos, or witness statements. Your case will be stronger the more proof you can obtain.
Then comes the day of the trial, the day we’ve been preparing for. Your attorney will represent you in court in the finest way. They will carry out depositions and arguments on your behalf.
Asking questions to witnesses, presenting evidence, and telling your side of the story is their expertise. But this process can be lengthy and takes time, so be patient. Your attorney will prepare you for the trial, how your respond to the questions, and how trials go. Nonetheless, it stays unpredictable.
There could be jurors having different perspectives or a judge who isn’t sympathetic toward your case. Your attorney works hard and advocates for your interest; hence, be prepared for any verdict. The jury can find your defendant innocent, or the amount you recover could be less than requested.
However, any offer of settlement that benefits you will be discussed with you by your lawyer.
Because of the unpredictability of trials, many cases end at settlements before or during them. They will negotiate with the defense attorney or insurance company for a settlement that is; reasonable and meets your demands.
Settlements can also occur before the trial; your attorney will keep you informed or advise you in case of any suitable offers.
You’re Not Alone
Apart from the support of your friends and family, your attorney is also on your side. From filing the first claim of medical expenses to accepting a settlement offer, you can rely on your lawyer.
In case of any questions or queries about the case, you can count on them to stay informed. And even though insurance companies can be a nuisance, when it comes to payments: it does not mean you have to give up.
Mistakes to Avoid
Nonetheless, while you prepare for a personal injury trial, there are a few things to remember. Although small, people often make these mistakes, and in legal scenarios, even a minor mistake can provide grave damage.
A personal injury claim begins just when you get injured in an accident. Any action or step you take afterwards is crucial for your case and affects the verdict. Therefore, you must find a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Other mistakes that can hurt your budget and case’s strength are;
- Delay in getting medical treatment: As soon as you get into an accident, seek medical treatment to document your injuries and treatments.
- Claiming after the statute of limitation: There is a time frame given; within which you can file for a lawsuit. When you exceed this limitation, filing your claim becomes nearly impossible.
- Handling your case yourself: We suggest avoiding managing your own case. An attorney is an expert in his field who knows how to get compensation for your damage and protect your rights.
- Accepting the initial offer: The first offer is likely less than your requirement. Your attorney should review the settlement offers and advise you to take the most suitable one.
- Providing inaccurate or false medical history: Hiding or lying about something your defendant will find out later; always bites you in the back. Giving false medical history can be used against you in court, so refrain from it.
Other than these mistakes during the trial preparations, there are things to avoid while hiring a personal injury attorney. A lawsuit is a crucial aspect of financial settlements for your damages. Therefore, you must think about every step you take to reduce the likelihood of any errors and contact a lawyer as early as you can.
Preparing for a trial is a lengthy and much-hated task. It implies the importance of finding the right attorney. Find someone to guide you through the legal process and represent you in court.
Find an experienced attorney around your place; whom you can trust and feel confident that your case is in good hands. Your chances of winning are better the more experience your lawyer has.
Your attorney will work carefully to gather evidence, witness statements and negotiate for a settlement. The right attorney will keep you informed throughout the process.
Remember to work closely with your attorney, ask questions, stay informed, and trust them. Your attorney is here to make you understand the complexities of the legal process, support you, and protect your rights.