If you are being sued for personal injury, prompt action to protect yourself and your assets are recommended. Suppose it is being argued your carelessness or negligence has resulted in a personal injury. In that case, you will likely receive a letter on behalf of the injured party notifying you of a claim.
Even if you don’t believe they have any evidence to support their claim, it is still important to take it seriously and obtain legal counsel at your earliest. Here is what to do if you are being sued for personal injury.
1. Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Before you do anything, hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you and guide you forward. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, represent you in court, and negotiate the best result on your behalf based on the evidence presented.
2. Review the Complaint
To best present, a defence against a claim, do an in-depth review of the claim or complaint. Ensure you understand the allegations and what is being sought in the form of damages.
3. Respond in a Timely Manner
If you strongly do not believe the claim made against you to be accurate, you may feel like responding with anger or not responding at all. It’s important to remain civil and cooperative throughout this process. You are also under a time limit to respond to a claim.
If you opt not to respond and ignore a claim, you may be noted in default, and no further notices will be issued about the case to you. The court, therefore, assumes you are admitting to the claims made against you, and the person suing you can ask the court to order you to pay the claim as they have submitted it.
4. Defence Documents to Prepare
With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you must prepare a Statement of Defence to be served to the plaintiff and any other defendants named. An Affidavit of Service must also be completed for each party served. These documents are to be filed with the court.
5. Your Defence Options
You can handle a claim against you for personal injury in several ways.
Prepare a defence
Prepare a defence to defend yourself against the claims made.
Settle the case
Settle the case with the person suing before it reaches the courts.
File a counterclaim
You can file a counterclaim if you believe the plaintiff owes you money.
Disagree with the claim
Disagree with the claim made and start a crossclaim if another defendant is mentioned in the claim, putting the responsibility on them to pay for the plaintiff’s damages.
Start a third-party claim
Begin a third-party claim if you believe someone else is responsible for the damages not mentioned in the case. A claim like this would be issued separately and essentially become its claim to be tested before the courts.
6. Gather Your Evidence
You need to present supporting evidence when building a defence against a personal injury claim. Depending on the claim, this can mean gathering witness statements, obtaining medical records and police reports, and taking photos. Do not wait to gather these things. Cooperate with any requests your lawyer has regarding requests for information or documents.
7. Prepare For The Mediation Process
Mediation will likely be where you and the other parties settle, avoiding having to go to court. A neutral third party will work with all involved in mediation to find a solution that suits all parties.
8. Attend All Court Hearings
While many personal injury cases are settled in meditation, if your case does make it to court, be sure to attend all court hearings and comply with court orders. Review all evidence, witnesses, and testimony alongside your injury lawyer, and follow their strategy to best present your defence.
9. Considering a Settlement
Going to court can be stressful, expensive, and, at best, an inconvenience. Your injury lawyer will be able to advise if a settlement is a fair option pre-court, particularly during the mediation process. Whether you offer or accept a settlement is up to you. It is important to consider what is being offered carefully and consult with your attorney before accepting anything.
10. Do Not Discuss the Case with Anyone
A key point is not to discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer. Not even your family. No posting about it on social media, either. Any statements you make can be used against you in court.
11. Protect Your Assets
There is always the risk a judgment could be entered against you. To guard against the risk of having assets seized, you may wish to protect certain assets, such as transferring ownership, setting up trusts, and taking legal moves you have available to you, ensuring your most valued possessions aren’t taken.