Were you recently injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or construction accident? No matter your situation, you may be entitled to compensation if you were injured in an accident or by someone else’s negligence. Contact our Ellsworth personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal remedies.
Whether you are familiar with the court system or have yet to experience legal actions, you may wonder what the personal injury lawsuit process consists of and what to expect. While we can provide you with a general guideline on how your personal injury lawsuit may proceed, it is essential to remember that the trajectory of each case will vary depending on the circumstances.
Below we discuss the Maine personal injury lawsuit process from injury through conclusion—but remember that the steps can vary, and some may not apply to your case at all.
It may seem apparent, but the first thing you should do after sustaining any injury is to seek medical treatment. Whether you are the victim of a car crash or an animal attack, the first step is to seek the necessary medical attention. Treatment can be a trip to the emergency room, orthopedic care, surgical repair, physical and occupational therapy, and pharmaceutical services. Even if you don’t initially feel injured or think it might just be something minor, you should still be evaluated by a physician. It is common for injuries to develop or even worsen as time goes on.
If you are contemplating filing a lawsuit, now is a good time to document and gather any evidence that you can. If you took pictures at the accident scene or took down witness contact information, ensure it is organized and in a safe place so that you can provide it to your attorney during your consultation. You should also keep and request copies of medical records and police reports. Creating a simple folder or box to store everything related to your injury will be helpful as your claim proceeds. Even if the information is unnecessary, keeping it is still a good idea. You never know what might turn out to be valuable to your claim.
Hiring a lawyer might be your first phone call, or it might be something you are only contemplating after realizing your injuries are more severe than you thought. It’s normal to hesitate to initiate legal action, but it is very important to consult with a personal injury attorney immediately. Even if you are still deciding whether to pursue a civil lawsuit, you should still speak with a lawyer before negotiating a claim or interacting with an insurance company. Hiring an attorney is not legally required, but like many other specialized services you wouldn’t take on alone, pursuing a civil lawsuit is best left to a professional.
Negotiating with insurance companies, interacting with the courts, and communicating with adversaries may be unfamiliar to you, but we are intimately familiar with the process. We can help you avoid falling victim to insurance company tactics designed to save the insurance company money by giving you as little as possible.
Before diving into a lawsuit, your lawyer will make a settlement demand to initiate a claim with the defendant or insurance company. From there, your attorney will negotiate a settlement to resolve the claim favorably early on. If you reach an agreement, the case concludes, and all that is left to do is wait for your settlement check and resume your life.
If you cannot settle your claim, the next step is to file a civil lawsuit with the court.
Once your lawyer files the complaint, the discovery process formally begins, and both sides will investigate and exchange information. Discovery can include deposing witnesses, consulting experts, and continuing settlement negotiations.
From the initial filing through discovery, it typically takes several months to reach the trial stage. Most personal injury cases end in a settlement, but some proceed to trial. At a civil trial, each party will have an opportunity to present their case. As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proving your case by presenting evidence that establishes each element of negligence. A negligence case involves showing a causal connection between the defendant’s actions and your injury and losses.
The precise trajectory of your case may vary from what you read above, and that’s ok. Every case is unique. However, the overarching goal remains to get fair compensation for your losses.
Just like you wouldn’t go about stitching up your laceration and would go to a doctor, you shouldn’t handle your personal injury lawsuit on your own. These cases often involve several defendants, all represented by well-equipped counsel.
The Maine rules of civil procedure require strict adherence to court procedures, filing deadlines, and compliance with evidentiary rules. In addition to being expected to comply with the rules and procedures, remember, as the plaintiff, you must prove your case. Let a skilled attorney advocate for you.
While you have six years to file your lawsuit in Maine, it is easy to lose track of time when you are recovering from severe injuries and rebuilding your life. It is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. This helps ensure you do not miss the filing deadline, and it helps ensure the details of the incident are fresh in your mind and the minds of potential witnesses when it comes time to make your case.
Most personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if and when you do. If your case is successful, your attorney will be paid a percentage of the settlement or award. In many cases, this is one-third, but that can vary among firms, lawyers, case types, and when the case resolves.
At Mann Law, we operate our fee structure on a contingency basis for personal injury claims. To learn more about specifics, give us a call. We are happy to answer all of your questions.
If you or someone you love was recently injured in Ellsworth or any surrounding area in Hancock County, our team at Mann Law is here to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Our founding partner has successfully advocated for accident victims for nearly two decades. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.