What to Expect as the Plaintiff of a Personal Injury Case

Categories: Personal Injury

plaintiff courtroom

Trusted Washington Personal Injury Attorneys

You have been injured, and now you are thinking about hiring an attorney. You know you need an attorney to represent your legal rights, and you want to receive the most compensation possible in your case.

But, you find yourself curious about the process. What does it look like? What is it like to sue someone for compensation?

These feelings are entirely normal, and every accident victim experiences them. The unknown is scary, and it can be daunting when you get started. Luckily, you can ease into this process by contacting an attorney. An attorney is your advocate. They are there to answer questions, help you through the difficult tasks of the case – and they can prepare you for the road ahead so that you do not find yourself caught off-guard.

While you wait for your injury consultation, the team at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC would like to walk you through the stages of a personal injury claim and help you better understand what you will experience during this process.

The Parties Involved in a Seattle Personal Injury Case

There are a few parties involved in a personal injury case, including:

  • Plaintiff – You are the plaintiff. As the victim, you have become the plaintiff if you were to file an official lawsuit. If you submit an insurance claim, you are the claimant.
  • Defendant – The defendant is the at-fault party – or the party you are suing in the lawsuit who is responsible for paying you compensation.
  • Attorney – Your attorney represents you in your claim and lawsuit. You may never go through the official lawsuit stage, but often you must file suit in order to get an insurance company to settle. Regardless, your attorney is your partner through the process.
  • Insurance Claims Adjuster – This is the party working for the insurance company. They will conduct an in-house investigation into the accident, determine the cause, assign fault, and be the lead contact for negotiating a settlement.

What Stages You Can Expect in Your Case

You go through several stages as the plaintiff of a personal injury case. Sometimes, the insurance company settles after just a few steps, while other times a case experiences every stage.

  • The Investigation – Your attorney is going to review your case and decide whether it is winnable. Once they have decided to move forward, they will gather witness statements, police accident reports, medical records, and any other evidence they feel will help prove the case. Gathering this information is critical, and it is the most crucial step in a personal injury case. The more evidence that shows a claim is legitimate, the easier it is to receive compensation from the other side.
  • The Demand Letter – Before filing any official complaint, your attorney will take the evidence that he or she has and send a demand letter to the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company. The letter states your basis for the claim and demands a settlement in a specific amount. The demand letter will discuss your injuries, costs, and the hardships you experience because of your injuries.
  • The Complaint – If your attorney does not receive a settlement or the results they wanted from the demand letter, they will then move on to the complaint. The complaint is where an official lawsuit begins. Your attorney files the complaint with the County Clerk’s Office and then starts to file motions and attend hearings on your case. Negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance company are still going at this point.
  • Discovery – Discovery is where each side must share the evidence they have collected. Often, if a case has made it this far it will settle once the other side has had time to interview you, witnesses, and experts your attorney plans to use in the case.
  • Mediation – Mediation is where you and your attorney go to a meeting with the opposition, and a neutral third-party. The purpose of this meeting is to attempt to reach a settlement.
  • Trial – This is the official trial phase – where each side presents their case to the court and a jury. After hearing all the evidence and arguments, the jury deliberates until they reach a verdict in favor of one side.

Critical Tips for First-Time Plaintiffs

As a plaintiff, your life is an open book. The defense, to do their job, must find ways to discredit you. That means digging into your personal life and looking for ways to paint you as money hungry, or even a liar. Do not let it get to you. That is what your attorney is there for. Your attorney will protect you and help you through the process. To assist in return, here are some tips to remember as a plaintiff:

  • You will be asked to repeat your story multiple times. Eventually, you might feel like a broken record continually repeating your story, but you may need to get used to it. In a personal injury case, you will have to repeat your account to multiple parties and even the same individual repeatedly.
  • Do not share anything on social media. The best way to help your attorney and avoid any surprises in court is to stay away from social media from the moment of your accident until it is over. Anything you say on social media could be found and used against you, sometimes in very unforeseeable ways. Someone shares a photograph of you smiling (even if you are smiling through the pain), and the defense may use it to argue that you are not as injured as you claim.
  • You will have to answer personal questions that might make you uncomfortable, but it is necessary. When you make claims that your injuries have affected your life, the defense will want to hear how. That means sharing how it affects you at work, intimacy with a partner, emotionally, mentally, and so forth.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Is the First and Most Important Step

If you have been injured because of someone’s negligent acts, you have the right to seek compensation. The best way to do so is to hire a personal injury attorney. An attorney is your advocate, and during this difficult time, you need someone in your corner fighting for you and protecting you from the defense.

For your injuries, contact an attorney from Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC. Our team is here to help you with your claim. Schedule a consultation now at 206-922-4197 or request more information online.

Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner has a proven track record of success. Following his graduation from Willamette University with a double major in mathematics and economics, Matt worked as an economist for the Office of Economic Analysis for the State of Oregon before moving onto working in mortgage banking and real estate.