Accidents occur every day in Oregon, resulting in serious injuries, financial hardship, and emotional trauma. If you are in an accident due to another person’s carelessness or recklessness, you may be eligible for financial compensation for these losses, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
To collect this compensation, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries. The litigation process involves a series of important steps that you and your personal injury attorney in Portland will need to take.
After an accident, you should immediately go to the doctor and receive medical treatment. Not only is this important to protect your health, but failure to seek medical attention could harm your case. If you do not receive treatment as soon as you can after an accident, the insurance company or court may assume your injuries are not serious.
Once you receive treatment, contact an Oregon personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Your lawyer will listen to your story, explain your legal options, and launch an investigation if he or she believes you have grounds for a lawsuit. Your attorney will review medical records, photographs, and other pieces of evidence in preparation for your claim.
Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), your attorney will draft a demand letter that expresses your intent to file a claim against the at-fault party. The defendant will have an opportunity to respond, and you may enter negotiations at this stage. You may be able to reach a settlement at this stage; if so, your case will conclude. If you and your attorney decide not to proceed with negotiations or if negotiations are unsuccessful, you will proceed with the lawsuit.
Next, your attorney will file your lawsuit in Oregon civil court. After filing, you will enter the discovery phase, where each party will investigate the other’s legal claims and defenses. You may send questions and document requests to one another, depose witnesses and relevant parties and continue to prepare for trial.
Once discovery ends, you will have another opportunity to negotiate with the at-fault party. Your lawyers may handle negotiations alone, or you may enter mediation where a third-party professional tries to help resolve your case. If negotiation or mediation is successful, your case will conclude before going to trial. If you do not negotiate or are unable to reach an agreement, your case will proceed to the courtroom.
Finally, your case will proceed to trial. A personal injury trial can last a single day, one week, or even longer, depending on your case. During your trial, the court will review the evidence and hear arguments from both parties.
At the conclusion of the trial, the court will determine whether you are eligible for compensation and how much you should receive. If the court rules in your favor, your case will end at this stage. If the court does not give you a settlement, you can choose to appeal the decision.
If you are filing a personal injury claim, you need an attorney to represent your best interests throughout the process. Your lawyer will handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on recovery. Contact an Oregon personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.