What are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?


What are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal Injury Info

If you’ve suffered a serious injury because of another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. This entitles you to receive compensation and other damages relating to your injuries, but the process and the laws governing this can be confusing.

The first and most important step is to hire a skilled and experienced injury attorney. Our personal injury lawyers at Rutter Mills can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

Consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. The sooner you hire legal counsel, the quicker an investigation can get started. That is critical because the evidence is often harder to gather if too much time passes between the accident and securing representation.

Your lawyer matters. Ask the attorney about their level of expertise in handling cases such as yours. Be wary of anyone who makes promises about how much money you might receive in a lawsuit– without a detailed case evaluation. Also, choose someone who makes you feel comfortable.

Furthermore, keep in mind that personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. They will receive a portion of the total settlement, usually between 30 and 40 percent. Generally, clients do not pay any fees out of pocket until a settlement or verdict is reached and the monies are paid.

Case Investigation

Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident. That includes reviewing police and medical reports, photos and videos of the scene, speaking with any eyewitnesses, and hiring experts when necessary. They might include, for example, medical professionals, who can testify to the severity of your injuries and prognosis, as well as

accident reconstruction specialists.

Because a personal injury lawsuit deals with economic losses, your lawyer will want information about your job and salary, potential earning power, level of education, and more. This information is used to calculate a fair settlement offer.

Case investigation also involves your attorney dealing with the insurance company and the lawyers who are representing the defendant.

Demand Letter

Your attorney sends a demand letter to the insurance company which insures the at-fault party. This letter outlines the circumstances of your case and includes the type of liability involved and the damages sought. The latter might include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning ability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The insurance company may reject the initial settlement demand, deny any liability or provide a counteroffer. In some cases, they will accept the demand letter right away. Your lawyer will advise you on the next steps.


Relatively few of these cases go to trial. Instead, our personal injury lawyers will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to reach a reasonable and fair settlement. However, if the insurance company refuses to agree to a settlement, then the matter may go before a judge and jury. Make sure the attorney you choose is willing to take your case to court if needed.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If no settlement is reached, your lawyer will file suit in court. The initial paperwork, known as the Complaint, spells out your case against the opposing party. The defendant receives a summons informing them about the Complaint and is given a time frame in which to answer it. Both the summons and complaint are served on the defendant, either via mail or a process server.

The defendant then files an Answer to the Complaint. The Answer either denies or admits to the details outlined in the Complaint or states there is not sufficient knowledge for either. Often, the Answer lists reasons why the defendant is not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Next comes the discovery phase, in which the lawyers for both the plaintiff and defendant gather documentation and evidence regarding the case and share it with each other.

Filing Motions

Either side may use a motion so the court will act prior to trial. When both parties agree on the facts, a motion for summary judgment is often requested to avoid trial. The party that did not file the motion can file a response. The judge either approves or denies it.

If the defendant fails to appear in court, does not respond to a summons, or fails in some action, the plaintiff’s attorney may file a motion for default judgment for their client.

Jury Trial

If there is no settlement or the court has not resolved the case via a motion, a trial is the next step. Both sides present their case before the court, and a judge and jury determine the outcome. Should they find in favor of the plaintiff, they may also award monetary damages.

Filing an Appeal

If the jury does not find the defendant liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, it is not necessarily the end of the matter. Depending on the specific issues, it is possible to appeal the verdict. For that, the plaintiff needs an experienced appellate lawyer.

Contact Our Team of Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or someone you care for was badly injured because of another person’s negligence or recklessness, arrange a free consultation with the personal injury lawyers of Rutter Mills. Contact us online or call or text 24/7 to schedule this complimentary case evaluation.

After reviewing your claim, we can determine whether you have the basis for a personal injury lawsuit. For the past sixty years, our dedicated attorneys have recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for clients. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless we win so you will not need to put any money up for a retainer.

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Dave suffered serious injuries in a car accident. The defendant’s insurance company tried to offer him a low amount so Dave called Rutter Mills. We took over dealing with the insurance and got Dave the money he needed to get back on his feet.

They enabled me to be happy in life again.

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Glenn’s car accident changed his life, but not permanently thanks to the help of his Rutter Mills attorney. When the insurance companies wouldn’t help him, our team fought back and won.

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On his way home from work at the shipyard, Dan was involved in an accident. He tried to file a claim on his own, but the insurance company wouldn’t give him the money he needed to put his life back on track. Dan knew he needed to call Rutter Mills.

They actually won my case 3 times!

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After her car accident, Larena asked her father, a local stevedore, for his advice on who to call. He recommended Rutter Mills. Her team of car accident experts at Rutter Mills fought back when the insurance companies tried to deny her the money she needed to recuperate from her injuries. We took her case to trial – and won. When the insurance company filed their appeals, we beat them again – two more times! Larena got the money she needed and the justice she deserved.

We’re going to immediately call Rutter Mills. That’s the people I trust with my baby girl.

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After a car accident, Jamaree’s first call was to her mom. She was shaken up and scared. Mom told her “We’re calling Rutter Mills. Her next was to Rutter Mills. Her Rutter Mills car accident team helped her get compensation “above & beyond” what she was expecting.

They lifted allot of stress off my shoulders. I recommend them to anybody because they WILL fight for you.

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After John was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, he turned to the person he trusts most for a recommendation. His wife, a paralegal of 30 years, told him to call Rutter Mills on the advice of the lawyer she worked for.

They really care for you as a person. Words cannot describe what Rutter Mills did for me and for my case.

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When the insurance company tried to get Carol to sign paperwork after her car accident, she knew she needed a lawyer. Carol knew she needed Rutter Mills.

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Taryn was in a car accident while she was pregnant. She knew she needed someone in her corner to protect her rights and her family’s future.

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A devasting accident changed Levon’s life forever. The physical and emotional toll left him scared and in pain. When the insurance company for the defendant contacted the family, they made an offer that did not even cover the cost of the medication, much less doctors’ bills, and physical therapy. They knew they needed to talk to a serious lawyer. Rutter Mills took care of the negotiation so Levon could focus on healing.

When you’ve got a serious injury, you need a serious lawyer. That’s why we chose Rutter Mills.

Motorcycle Accidents Change Everything

When Ed was injured in a motorcycle crash, he knew he needed a serious lawyer to protect his rights. The insurance companies were fighting him every step of the way. Rutter Mills helped prove Ed’s case and get him the money he needed to get on the road to recovery.

With the seriousness of the accident, I knew that we needed a serious lawyer. I needed Rutter Mills.

Carol & Levon's Story

They knew they needed a serious lawyer when Carol and her son were seriously injured. After the other party’s insurance company tried to get her to settle for less than she needed, Carol called Rutter Mills for help. We took on the insurance company so she could focus on healing.

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