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The basic steps involved in a personal injury case

There are many ways a person can suffer an injury through the negligence of someone else. It may involve a slip and fall, a car accident, the use of an unsafe product, or dozens of other ways. Regardless of the circumstances, the process of using our attorneys to help you recover damages usually follows the same general steps.

Initial meeting with an attorney. In an initial consultation with our injury lawyer, we will go over the facts of the incident, what type of medical treatment you received, who was a witness, what contact you have had with insurance companies and healthcare providers, were police involved, followed by an overview of your legal options.

Settlement demands. Before trying to settle with the insurance company, we help you to receive the necessary medical treatment. We work to get the applicable insurance company to pay for any vehicle damages, any wage loss, and medical bills. Once your medical care is complete, we gather all medical records, bills, and other evidence. We then make a settlement demand to the insurance carrier. If the insurance company is willing to be reasonable, then you might decide to settle your claim. If the insurance company is not willing to make a settlement offer that you find to be reasonable, then we will ask you to meet with us to discuss the risks, costs, and timeline associated with filing a lawsuit.

Filing court papers. The first thing our injury lawyer will do is file a complaint with the court, outlining the case against the defendant. This sets the legal framework for the case, including the basis for the filing, facts of the case, and a demand for relief, stating that damages are being sought. The paperwork will be served to the defendant, which will basically require them to respond to the complaint.

Discovery. This is the phase that allows both sides to delve deeper into the facts of the case and may involve depositions and the exchange of documents related to the case.

Motions. Based on discovery, some lawyers will seek to have a case dismissed or certain evidence dismissed for a variety of reasons. It will be up to the judge to decide which motions are valid and which ones are not.

Settlement. Before a trial, there may be attempts to settle the case in a manner deemed acceptable to both parties. If one party has a stronger case than the other, this may be the best course of action to avoid the emotional stress and trauma associated with going to trial.

Trial. Although most cases are settled, some do go to trial. This will involve selecting a jury, opening statements, testimony by witnesses, cross-examination of witnesses, closing arguments, and deliberations by a jury.

Collecting a judgment. If you win your case, you are entitled to collect a judgment, but sometimes we will need to continue to work hard to recover what you’re due.

Appeals. After a trial has been decided, one side or the other may decide to appeal the decision, basically setting into play a new set of legal actions to take place.

Johnson and Taylor proudly serves Portland, Salem and surrounding Oregon communities.