When you suffer an injury due to another person’s negligence, the process of pursuing a personal injury claim may seem daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Marasco & Nesselbush’s trusted Rhode Island personal injury attorneys offer comprehensive representation, ensuring you understand every step of the process as it happens. If you are eligible for a personal injury claim, we can help you with every step of the legal process, including court documents, discovery, settlement negotiations, and trial.
If you or a family member were injured due to another party’s negligence or mistake, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. If your suit is successful, you may recover financial compensation and justice for your losses, such as property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
Many injury victims opt not to pursue claims for the compensation they deserve because of anxiety over the process. Most of this anxiety comes from unfamiliarity with the process. However, the process doesn’t have to be stressful. Marasco & Nesselbush provides this guide so you know what to expect when pursuing a personal injury claim in Rhode Island.
In addition, working with Marasco & Nesselbush’s attorneys not only significantly increases your chances of obtaining maximum compensation but also takes the stress out of the process. Our attorneys can gather and preserve evidence, file paperwork ahead of relevant deadlines, assist with the discovery process, negotiate with the opposition, and bring your case to trial.
How Does a Personal Injury Case Work?
Retain a Personal Injury Attorney
Before you do anything else, book a free initial case consultation with a Marasco & Nesselbush personal injury attorney. Tell the lawyer about how you were injured, the type and severity of your injuries, who was involved in your accident, and what kind of treatment you are receiving. If you have evidence to support your case, such as police reports and videos of the accident scene, show that information to your lawyer. Your lawyer will use this first consultation to determine whether you have a valid claim against the people or entities responsible for your accident.
Filing A Complaint About Your Injury Through Court Documents
If you have a valid claim, our attorneys will gather all available evidence and plan a strategy to obtain compensation. We will then file court documents, including a complaint outlining your allegations and the basis for the lawsuit. Once we have prepared and filed the documents, we will serve the defendant—the person or entity you are suing—with them.
You must follow specific court rules when filing your claim, including Rhode Island’s three-year statute of limitations or deadline for personal injury cases. If you fail to file your claim before the three-year deadline, you may be barred from filing a lawsuit for your injuries. Our lawyers will take care of these details so you can focus on recovering and getting your life back together.
Engaging in the Pre-Trial Discovery Process
Discovery is a pre-trial procedure where each party learns more about the incident and the opposition’s evidence. Each party can look at the other side’s documents and ask questions about what happened.
Parties use discovery to evaluate the strength of a case and see whether the case can be settled out of court. Without discovery, parties risk a so-called trial by ambush—proceeding to trial without knowing anything about the other side’s evidence or witnesses. This can significantly weaken your case since you will not have the chance to build rebuttals.
There are several types of discovery in Rhode Island:
- Depositions involve taking sworn, out-of-court oral testimony from a witness and turning it into a written transcript for discovery purposes.
- Written interrogatories are written questions from one party to another. They are usually written and provided under oath.
- Requests for production of documents and other objects allow the parties to see each other’s evidence.
- Physical and mental examinations require the opposite party to submit to a mental or physical examination. For example, a party may request the other party to undergo a physical and mental examination if the latter claims to have developed fibromyalgia, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder after a car crash.
- Requests for admission allow one party to request another party deny or admit the truth of a statement under oath.
Pre-trial Motions and Hearings
Pre-trial motions are made to exclude or secure evidence, change venue, or end the case. Here are some common pre-trial motions:
- A motion to dismiss is a request for the court to dismiss the case before trial, usually because the complaint does not state a valid legal claim.
- A motion for summary judgment asks the court to rule in favor of one party before trial based on the filings and evidence on the record. If the party filing the motion can show no genuine issue requiring a trial, the judge will probably dismiss the opposite party’s claim or defense.
- A motion for order compelling discovery requests an order forcing the other party to provide the requested documents, deposition testimony, or answers to interrogatories. Parties use this motion when the opposition is not cooperating with the discovery process.
After filing pre-trial motions, you may participate in pre-trial hearings—informal court proceedings that occur before trials to address various disputes. They can cover a wide range of issues, including the resolution of pre-trial motions, setting deadlines for completing discovery, and discussions about trial logistics.
Negotiating A Settlement with the Defendants
After your injury, you can start settlement negotiations—discussions with the other side about your claim’s value. Once you and the other party have agreed upon your case value, the other party will pay you for your losses. In exchange, you must waive your right to go to trial.
In many cases, you will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company. These companies may try to pressure you to accept low payments, which is why you should have a skilled Rhode Island attorney representing you. The right Rhode Island personal injury lawyer knows how to secure maximum compensation from insurers. They will work to get you a settlement that covers your losses, including past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and past and future lost wages.
If Both Parties Can’t Agree, Your Case May Go to Trial
You can proceed to trial if you cannot agree with the opposition about your case’s value. At trial, both parties will present their evidence before the jury. The jury will decide on the amount of money you deserve for your losses.
Collecting a Settlement or Trial Verdict Award
If your case is successful, you can collect your settlement payout or trial verdict.
After a successful settlement negotiation, the opposition will have you sign a release form. By signing this form, you agree to relieve the defendant from all liability for the accident. As a result, you cannot sue the defendant for your damages. The defendant will then write a settlement check to your lawyer, who will deposit the money into an escrow account and wait for it to clear. The lawyer will deduct their contingency fee and other legal expenses from the settlement before writing you a new check with the remaining amount.
If you win a trial, the court will ask the defendant to pay you. If that person refuses to pay you, you can start a legal process to collect the property or money owed to you.
What Might Happen Post-Trial
After the trial, one or both sides may want to change the verdict or request a new trial. Parties can do this by filing a post-trial motion, such as a motion for a new trial. Talk to your attorney to learn more about post-trial motions.
If there are grounds for appeal, a party unhappy with the verdict may appeal it after all post-trial avenues for relief are exhausted.
Marasco & Nesselbush Can Help You With Your Personal Injury Case
The above are only some of the general steps in the personal injury lawsuit process. Each case is unique, and the actual steps may vary based on the specifics of each case. If someone else’s actions have harmed you, book an initial consultation with an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer at our firm. An attorney can evaluate and analyze your case and provide a much clearer roadmap for your case.
For over 20 years, we have provided trusted legal advice for clients with life-altering injuries. We have recovered over $100,000,000 on behalf of our clients, including a $6,200,000 payout for a client who developed severe injuries after a rollover accident caused by a distracted driver.