If you are seeking compensation for injuries in an Alabama accident, you will need the services of an Alabama personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will follow a strict process to file your lawsuit comprehensively and without any errors or setbacks. One step in this process is known as the personal injury pre-action protocol.
The Purpose of the Personal Injury Pre-Action Protocol
When you file a lawsuit against a negligent party for your injuries in Alabama, you do not always want to take the case to court. In fact, many at-fault parties settle their lawsuits out of the courtroom. The pre-action protocol helps facilitate these negotiations. This process not only helps encourage early settlements without engaging in the lengthy courtroom proceedings but also ensures that all parties involved have researched the case significantly and the courtroom process will be quick and efficient.
You, the at-fault party, and the attorneys involved will need to adhere to the following objectives when you all engage in the pre-action protocol.
- You and the at-fault party will exchange all information relevant to your case.
- You and the at-fault party will come to an understanding of the case and each other’s perspective on the proceedings.
- By engaging in the pre-action protocol, you and the at-fault party understand that your attorneys may conduct investigations based on allegations that come up during the process.
The Pre-Action Protocol Process
Personal injury pre-action protocols follow a series of steps to reach an agreement. You and the at-fault party will either decide to settle out of court or move the legal proceedings forward to trial.
- The first step is known as the Early Notification. Your attorney will notify the at-fault party as soon as possible after you decide to file your lawsuit. The at-fault party should send back an acknowledgment of the claim.
- Next, you and your attorney will move into the Letter of Claim stage. Your attorney will draft a detailed letter about the lawsuit and send it directly to the parties involved in your case. This letter will include a summary of your lawsuit, a description of your injuries, and a description of the damages you suffered as a result of your injury. The at-fault party and his or her attorney will launch their own investigation into your claim.
- Next, you must wait for the Preliminary Response from the at-fault party. This response will include information that he or she believes is relevant to the claim and that your Letter of Claim did not mention. If you do not receive this response, you may proceed directly with the courtroom process.
- If you do receive a response, the at-fault party will enter the Investigation process. He or she and the attorney will investigate your claim and determine liability. At the end of this process, you should receive notice on whether the at-fault party accepts liability. You and your attorney may also conduct your investigation as well, including consultation with medical experts and evidence review.
- You should send a list of your Special Damages to the at-fault party and attorney as soon as possible. This document will include the damages you intend to claim, any changes to the damages, and supporting documents.
- When you enter into negotiations with the at-fault party and their attorney, you can reach one of two agreements. If the at-fault party accepts liability for your damages, you enter the Resolution of Issues stage. You will discuss compensation and reach a settlement.
- If you cannot reach a settlement or the at-fault party does not accept liability, you enter the Failure to Comply stage. You will enter the courtroom proceedings after this stage and begin another legal process.
The pre-action protocol helps you and the other parties involved in your case reach an agreement before your claim reaches the courtroom. If you have not yet obtained an Alabama personal injury attorney for your lawsuit, contact one as soon as possible.