Alabama Personal Injury

What to Expect at Each Stage of a Personal Injury Claim 

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your losses. Also known as an accident claim or bodily injury claim, this legal process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when you’re also dealing with physical recovery. Understanding what to expect at each stage of your case can help alleviate stress and uncertainty.

It’s important to note that while the general process is similar across the country, Alabama has its own specific laws governing personal injury cases. To ensure your rights are fully protected, it’s wise to consult with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process and provide personalized advice tailored to your unique situation.

Immediately After the Accident

In the aftermath of an accident, your health should be your top priority. Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s crucial to seek medical treatment right away. Some injuries, like concussions or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent. Promptly getting evaluated by a medical professional not only protects your well-being but also creates a record of your injuries that will be valuable evidence in your claim.

If you’re able, try to document the accident scene. Take photos or videos of the location, any property damage, and visible injuries. Obtain a copy of the police report, if one was filed, and gather contact information for any witnesses. However, be cautious about discussing the accident with others, especially insurance representatives. Avoid giving any recorded statements or signing documents without first consulting your lawyer.

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Technically, you can file an injury claim on your own, but there are significant benefits to having legal representation. Personal injury lawyers deeply understand the complexities of the law and the tactics insurance companies use to minimize payouts. They can accurately assess the full value of your damages, including future medical needs and non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you receive a settlement or verdict in your favor. You pay nothing upfront, and their fee is a percentage of your recovery. When looking for a lawyer, focus on those with extensive experience in personal injury law, particularly in cases similar to yours. Read reviews from past clients and schedule a consultation to ensure you feel comfortable with their communication style and approach.

The Investigation & Building Your Case

Once you’ve hired a lawyer, they’ll begin a thorough investigation to gather evidence supporting your claim. This may involve:

  • Obtaining your medical records and bills to document your injuries and treatment.
  • Calculating your lost wages if you missed work due to the accident.
  • Interviewing witnesses and obtaining their statements.
  • Consulting with experts, such as accident reconstructionists or medical specialists.

Your lawyer will also identify all potentially liable parties. In some cases, multiple entities may share fault, such as a negligent driver and their employer if the accident happened on the job.

It’s important to understand that the insurance company will be conducting its own investigation simultaneously. Their goal is to minimize the amount they have to pay out, so they’ll be looking for evidence to dispute your claim or shift blame. Your attorney’s job is to build the strongest possible case on your behalf and advocate fiercely for your interests.

The Negotiation Process

The vast majority of personal injury cases settle out of court. Once your lawyer has built your case, they’ll prepare a demand package to send to the insurance company. This detailed document outlines the facts of the accident, the severity of your injuries, your economic losses like medical bills and lost income, and your non-economic damages like pain and suffering. It concludes with a demand for a specific settlement amount.

The insurance company will review the demand and likely respond with a lower counteroffer. This begins the negotiation process, which may go through several rounds of offers and counteroffers. Your lawyer will advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of each offer and provide guidance, but ultimately the decision to accept a settlement is yours.

If negotiations stall and a fair agreement can’t be reached, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit and taking the case to trial. However, even after a lawsuit is filed, settlement negotiations may continue, and many cases resolve before reaching the courtroom.

What if My Case Goes to Trial?

If your case does proceed to trial, here’s a simplified overview of what you can expect:

  • Jury Selection: If your case will be heard by a jury, the first step is voir dire, where attorneys from both sides question potential jurors to screen for bias and conflicts of interest.
  • Opening Statements: Once the jury is seated, the attorneys present their opening statements, outlining their key arguments and what they believe the evidence will show.
  • Witness Testimony and Cross-Examination: Your lawyer will present your case, calling witnesses to testify and introducing evidence like medical records and expert testimony. The defense attorney can cross-examine each witness. Then, the defense presents their case, and your attorney can cross-examine their witnesses.
  • Closing Arguments: After all evidence has been presented, each side makes their closing argument, summarizing their case and persuading the jury to decide in their favor. 
  • Jury Deliberation and Verdict: The judge provides the jury with instructions on the law, and they deliberate in private until reaching a verdict. If they find in your favor, they’ll also decide the amount of damages to award.

It’s crucial to be aware of Alabama’s statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits. In most cases, you have two years from the accident date to file, but there are exceptions. Your lawyer can ensure all necessary paperwork is filed on time to protect your right to seek compensation.

After a Settlement or Verdict

If your case settles, the insurance company will send a check to your attorney. Before you receive your funds, your lawyer will deduct their contingency fee, which is typically around one-third of the settlement. They’ll also pay any outstanding medical bills or liens related to your accident. The remaining balance is your compensation.

If you win a verdict at trial, the process is a bit more complex. The defendant may file an appeal, which can delay receiving your funds. If the verdict is upheld, your lawyer will help you collect the judgment, which may involve further court proceedings if the defendant refuses to pay.

  1. Adam Jones & Associates: Your Alabama Injury Advocates

Navigating a personal injury claim is stressful, but you don’t have to face it alone. The legal team at M. Adam Jones & Associates has deep knowledge of Alabama’s personal injury laws and a track record of success advocating for injured individuals. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll an unexpected injury can take, and we’re committed to fighting for the maximum compensation you deserve.

When you work with our firm, you can expect:

– A free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.

– Thorough investigation and meticulous case preparation. 

– Aggressive negotiation with insurance companies. 

– Trial-tested advocacy in the courtroom when necessary.

– A contingency-fee structure, so you pay nothing unless we win.

– Responsive communication and support through every step of the process.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligence in Alabama, don’t wait to seek help. Contact M. Adam Jones & Associates today to schedule your free consultation. We’ll listen to your story, explain your legal options, and fight tirelessly to protect your rights. Let us handle the legal burdens while you focus on healing.

  1. Adam Jones,

Managing Partner

  1. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC

206 N. Lena St.

Dothan, AL 36303

Tel: 334-699-5599

Fax: 334-699-5588 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *