Experienced Phoenix Personal Injury Attorneys
Understanding the Process for a Personal Injury Claim in Arizona
Those who have an actionable personal injury claim (but who are otherwise unfamiliar with such litigation) often do not realize that resolving the dispute is a rather involved process with many steps. If you have been harmed in an accident due to another’s fault, then it’s important that you understand all the steps that lead up to trial litigation — in many cases, your dispute will be resolved prior to trial, thus saving you from the hassle, publicity, and uncertainty associated with trial litigation.
Let’s take a closer look at each step in a personal injury dispute.
Step 1: Sending a Demand Letter
Early on in your engagement with a Phoenix personal injury attorney, they will evaluate your claim and determine whether it is actionable, how much it is worth in damages, and the likelihood of success at trial given the known facts of the case.
At this point, your personal injury attorney will have sufficient information to send a demand letter to opposing counsel (or to the relevant insurer) for the compensation that you believe is owed under the law. There may be some back-and-forth at this stage, with opposing counsel attempting to negotiate the amount of compensation downwards. If you can persuade them that you are likely to succeed at trial, then you will have substantial leverage in these negotiations.
Step 2: Filing a Complaint
In the event that initial settlement discussions do not return favorable results, your Phoenix personal injury attorney will begin the lawsuit by filing a formal complaint with the court. By filing the complaint in a timely manner, you will also avoid missing the statute of limitations deadline.
The complaint itself is a document that includes all the claims that you are making against the defendant, the justification for such claims, and how much your are attempting to secure in damages. After filing the complaint and serving notice upon the defendant, they will have an opportunity to respond to the accusations made in the complaint. Depending on the circumstances, they may choose to file a counter-claim.
Step 3: Fact-Finding Through Discovery
Discovery is a fact-finding process in which each side makes requests for documents and asks a number of specific questions (for which they are entitled to receive an answer). Through discovery, you will be able to glean many insights into the case that could not have been known by simply investigating the accident and gathering publicly-accessible documents. Savvy attorneys use discovery to make broad requests that are just barely justified by the circumstances, and defend aggressively against similarly broad intrusions.
Oftentimes, litigation is won through clever use of discovery.
Step 4: Pre-Trial Procedures
Disputes do not often proceed all the way through to trial. In many cases, motions are filed and the case is resolved by the court before trial litigation begins (i.e., a motion for summary judgment). Mediation, arbitration, and other alternative forms of dispute resolution are also quite common.
Step 5: Trial Litigation
Eventually, if no proper resolution is reached, the case will proceed to trial. Trial can take several weeks, depending on the complexity of the dispute at-issue. In trial, the plaintiff and the defendant will present their evidence, introduce and challenge witnesses, and make persuasive arguments. Effective trial lawyers understand not only how to select jurors and utilize procedural edge-cases to give their clients an advantage, but also take steps to execute their strategy in a way that will be interpreted favorably by jurors.
In the event that a trial verdict goes poorly, you have a right to appeal the court’s decision.
Begin Your Claim Now and Hire a Top Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney
If you have sustained injuries in an accident due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party in Arizona, then the law may give you a right of action for damages.
Contact Hirsch & Lyon at 602-598-4786 or send us a message through our website to connect to one of our skilled Phoenix personal injury attorneys for guidance. Consultation is free and confidential, and we serve clients throughout Arizona.