The Stages of a Personal Injury Claim


Personal injury law refers to the legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct. In fact, the word “tort” comes from a Latin term meaning twist, wrong, or harm.  The broad definition of a personal injury claim is when a physical or emotional injury is inflicted upon a person. The injury, per say, must be caused on a person’s body, emotions, or mind, in order for the said person to be able to file a personal injury claim against the perpetrator.

However, personal injury cases can become extremely complex and it is important to highlight some of the stages of a personal injury claim to better understand the severity of the legal issue at hand.

Some information has been gathered from a well known Southern California Attorney Mark Larson, who has extensive knowledge surrounding personal injury cases.  Mark Larson had gained much of his personal injury experience from his assistance with the success of the Beverly Hills law firm of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley and his own law firm Larson, Larson & Dauer.  

Who Is At Fault?

The core question is who is at fault (liable)?  If this is easily established by the injured, then the questions becomes, how bad are the injuries?  For example, if you are rear ended while sitting at a red light, liability is clearly on the person that rear ended you.  For purposes of this discussion, we will assume that liability is clearly established. It is important to note that this is not always the case.   

Prior to Suing

Pre-action protocols are a necessity when dealing with personal injury claims. Once the perpetrator or the defender is identified, a letter is normally sent to them. This enables a thorough investigation into the claims made by the injured, and each angle is assessed to great extents.  This also assists in discovering whether or not there is insurance covering the incident. This is very helpful to address whether or not the Defendant will have money to pay the injured person.

For most types of cases, such as motor vehicle accidents, there will be insurance coverage.  From this point, it is important to discover the amount of the insurance policy. This helps in maximizing settlement for the injured client.  For example, if you suffer from a broken leg in a car accident and the insurance coverage is only $15,000.00, you will likely be able to very easily obtain the policy limits from this insurance policy.  

If you obtain maximum policy limits from Defendant, but it is not enough to pay for your injuries (general and special damages), then it is up to you and your attorney, on whether or not you want to advance costs to sue the Defendant.  You can then try to obtain additional money from Defendant directly, in addition to insurance, via a court judgement. This is generally not common, as the Defendant generally does not have enough money to pay. This becomes very complicated and takes careful assessment by an attorney.      

Court Proceedings

If you are unable to settle the claim with Defendant, the next stage is to sue the Defendant and initiate court proceedings. This will require the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, such as Mark Larson.  This process usually will take 1-3 years and involves discovery, which is simply each side gathering all the facts they can use to prosecute or defend their case. This is exactly why it is imperative that any individual, who wants to obtain monetary damages, first gathers as much evidence as possible to prove up their case in every way possible.  Once this process is completed and experts are retained, the case is usually set for trial at the superior court.

The courts usually take two core factors into consideration when deciding the outcome of a case, this includes the relevant statutes of that state and the factual matrix of the case.  Therefore, the judge will first take the law into perspective and then will advise the jury via jury instructions. The jury is then to provide a verdict after considering all of the facts of the case. At this point, if liability was not established, the jury would decide and render a verdict.  If the jury renders a favorable verdict for the injured, they would then issue a verdict for damages against Defendant and for the injured. This is a Judgement that must be paid by Defendant. If the Defendant has insurance, then the insurance will pay. Otherwise, you may attempt to collect on your judgement directly against the Defendant.  

The litigation process is very complicated and most cases must be handled with extreme focus to detail.  Mark Larson is an American attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation, employment law and personal injury claims.  He assists individuals that have suffered psychologically or physically from injuries that were caused by the negligence of others.  His passion for the law is propelled by his hatred for the insurance companies repeated denial of his clients legitimate claims for injuries.  Mark has made it his life goal and practice to squeeze every cent he can out of the insurance companies, and give it to the rightful owners, the injured.