It may be intimidating to schedule a consultation with an attorney if you've never been involved in a court case. When you meet with an attorney regarding a personal injury case, it doesn't mean you will have to appear in court. In fact, it's likely that you will never even see the inside of a courtroom, since most personal injury cases are settled out of court.
First, you need to focus on getting better. As a potential plaintiff, is your obligation to mitigate damages in your case by following medical advice and making as complete a recovery as possible. Keep in mind that you have two years after your accident to file a lawsuit, so make recovery your first goal.
Then, you should meet with an attorney. You may meet with more than one. When an attorney agrees to take your case, they may do so on the spot, or ask for some time to consider your case and get back to you. After they agree to take on your case, they may have you sign a contract saying that you have agreed to hire them for your case. They may also have you sign a release so they can get your medical records or other documents from your doctors that they need to review.
Next, the attorney will begin looking into your case. This involves gathering all the evidence that is available, including accident reports, medical records, any records or timelines you have kept, and any witness testimony that is available. Once your attorney has a good understanding of the facts of the case, they will make a demand of the defendant's attorney or insurer. Many cases settle at this point in the process.
If the case is not able to be resolved with a settlement, then the attorney will file a lawsuit. Both sides exchange information and investigate the claims in a process known as discovery. After discovery, the attorneys may try negotiating again, and if that doesn't work, they may go to mediation, which is a guided negotiation process. If an agreement is still not reached, then the case goes to trial.
At Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C., our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.