Filing a personal injury lawsuit may seem overwhelming; but, the process can be a lot easier than you think. This page explores the simple steps you can follow to file a personal injury lawsuit for your child.
1. Decide If You Have a Case
According to the American Bar Association Division for Public Education, there are two issues present in every personal injury claim – liability and damages. The first question that needs to be resolved is whether or not the defendant is liable – or responsible – for the injuries your child sustained. If so, the second question that needs to be resolved asks about the extent of your child’s damages. A court can compensate your family for losses resulting from an accident if you can show both liability and damages (http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/personalinjury.html).
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, you need to decide if your child has a potential claim. In other words, ask yourself: has my child been injured by someone else’s negligence? Negligence refers to the idea that people must use reasonable care so as not to injure others. If you are unsure whether you have a potential personal injury case, you can always contact my office for more information.
2. Contact a Lawyer ASAP
Personal injury lawsuits are time-sensitive. Every state has a statute of limitations, meaning that there is a time limit on how long you can bring a personal injury lawsuit. In the state of Connecticut, the statute of limitations is two years. This means that you only have two years to bring a personal injury action to collect damages. The statute begins to run once your child gets injured. If your child’s injury is not immediately apparent, the statute begins once you discover your child’s injury or when you reasonably should have discovered it.
Because of this two-year time limit, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your child is injured. It is also important to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately so he or she can begin investigating the case. Your lawyer will obtain the police report, photographs of the scene, photographs of your injuries, medical documents, etc. It is important to tell your lawyer everything and be completely honest with him or her.
3. Consider Settlement
Settlement is often an option. In a settlement, the party responsible for your child’s injuries will offer to pay your family an amount of money in exchange for you not taking the matter any further. If you choose to settle your child’s case with the other party, you won’t even have to file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer can help you evaluate your settlement options. But it is ultimately your family’s decision whether or not you want to settle.
4. File a Suit
If you don’t agree to a settlement with the other party, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Even after filing, your lawyer will likely try to negotiate with the other side one final time before going to trial.