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The Personal Injury Claim Process

by Theresa Hoffman

If you are involved in an accident and attribute your injuries to another party, you should file a personal injury claim. It is essential you hire a personal injury lawyer to help increase your chances of a fair damage award. Likewise, it is equally important to understand the steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit. Here is an overview of the process involved in a personal injury claim.

Filing a Claim

A personal injury case begins when you file a claim in court. After filing the claim in court, you go through all the other processes before your case goes to trial. The pre-trial procedures for personal injury cases are different in each state.

Your personal injury attorney will make a formal complaint in court. The complaint lays out the details of what you are alleging. Furthermore, your lawyer will ensure you file a claim within the strict statute of limitations that apply to your state. Your lawyer will then serve the complaint on the defendant. The complaint notifies the defendant that you have sued them.


In every personal injury claim, there is a stage known as the discovery phase. This stage of the claim process enables both sides in a lawsuit to obtain relevant information from the opposing side. The purpose of the discovery phase is to minimize surprises during the trial and give each side an opportunity to prepare themselves for the case.

The discovery stage involves written discovery, depositions, and document production. Written discovery involves interrogatories. These are questions posed to you to get your version of the incident. Depositions are a discovery tool where a person who is under oath answers a lawyer's questions, and a court reporter records all this information.

Finally, there is document production where both sides exchange documents relevant to the case. The documents may include anything from medical records to business records.


Most personal injury cases are settled before trial. Before trial, either when serving the defendant, the complaint, or during the discovery phase, the parties may decide to settle the case. However, if you fail to reach an amicable decision, your case will go to trial.

During trial, the judge will determine whether the defendant is liable for the accident and your losses. The judge will also rule on how much compensation you should receive for damages. If either party is not satisfied with the outcome of the trial, they can appeal. When the appeals process is exhausted, the defendant is required to pay damages.

Contact a personal injury lawyer for more information.