If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury in Michigan, there are steps to follow that can make the process easier for you â€“ and help you get a better result in the long run.
Before you take any other steps in obtaining relief from your injury, you should investigate and document the cause of your accident.Â As early as you can, you will want to get witness contact information and make and keep photos of the accident scene.Â These documents and possible witnesses will help you find the evidence that can prove that the accident was not your fault and that it involved someoneâ€™s negligence.
You must get medical help as soon as possible after your accident.Â When you see your doctor or visit the hospital, make sure to get copies of all documents they prepare about your case and keep copies of all your bills and receipts.Â Â
Consider contacting an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as practicable after your accident.Â Now that you have your evidence and your documents, this attorney can evaluate your case at no cost to you and guide you to the next steps.Â This step can be especially helpful in negotiating Michiganâ€™s complicated no-fault rules relating to car accidents.
The next steps depend on your case and your opponent.Â It may be that the case is such that the other party or parties to the accident that caused your injury (and their insurance companies) are happy to engage in settlement negotiations.Â If so, good for you!Â Your attorney can work with them to make sure you donâ€™t agree to any settlement that isnâ€™t in your interests, and you may be able to be compensated without any litigation at all.Â If itâ€™s a good settlement offer and both you and your attorney agree that it is, you can settle and end the matter.Â If not, you may have to resort to litigation.
If you and your Michigan injury attorney agree that your case is worth pursuing in court, you will file a personal injury lawsuit.Â Personal injury suits are usually based on the theory of negligence.Â In other words, someone owed you a duty of care and breached that duty, causing you injuries for which you seek compensation.Â Your case begins with filing a complaint in the County Court in which you reside.Â You will be the Plaintiff, and those you are suing are the Defendants.Â Â
When a personal injury case is taken to trial, a judge will review evidence to decide whether the defendant is guilty for the alleged injuries sustained by the plaintiff. The trial is an opportunity for the plaintiff to present his or her argument and demonstrate the extent of damages following the incident. Don’t go into the process alone: an experienced injury attorney can represent your best interests during the trial.
After filing, your case will go through an evidence-gathering process (remember all those documents and witness information you kept).Â As the case proceeds, one side can always settle the case.Â If not, a judgment will be entered by the court when the case is over.Â If you win, you will receive an award for your damages.Â Because injury attorneys usually work on a contingency fee, the winning attorney will receive a portion of your award.Â If there is no award, you will not pay your attorney.Â
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