Steps in the Personal Injury Claim Process

Steps in the Personal Injury Claim Process

If you’re hurt and it’s someone else’s fault, knowing what to do next can be tough. We at Hirsch & Lyon Personal Injury Lawyers get this and are here to help. This guide will show you the steps of a personal injury case in Arizona, focusing on the important law called the statute of limitations. This law affects when you can start a lawsuit to get justice.

Experienced Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers for Every Step of Your Accident Claim

Those who have an actionable personal injury claim (but who are otherwise unfamiliar with such litigation) often do not realize that resolving the dispute is a rather involved process with many steps.  If you have been harmed in an accident due to another’s fault, then it’s important that you understand all the steps that lead up to trial litigation. In many cases, however, Phoenix personal injury lawyers resolved the claim prior to trial, thus saving you from the hassle, publicity, and uncertainty associated with trial litigation.

Let’s take a closer look at each step in a personal injury dispute.

The 5 Steps for Resolving an Arizona Personal Injury Claim

Step 1: Sending a Demand Letter

Early on in your engagement with a Phoenix personal injury attorney, they will evaluate your claim and determine whether it is actionable, how much it is worth in damages, and the likelihood of success at trial given the known facts of the case. Here is where your attorney will evaluate your potential fault, and determine if the amount you could receive is larger than what the insurance company is offering.

At this point, your Phoenix personal injury attorney will have sufficient information to send a demand letter to opposing counsel (or to the relevant insurer) for the compensation that you believe is owed under the law.  There may be some back-and-forth at this stage, with opposing counsel attempting to negotiate the amount of compensation downwards.  If you can persuade them that you are likely to succeed at trial, then you will have substantial leverage in these negotiations.

Step 2: Filing a Complaint

In the event that initial settlement discussions do not return favorable results, your Phoenix personal injury attorney will begin the lawsuit by filing a formal complaint with the court.  By filing the complaint in a timely manner, you will also avoid missing the statute of limitations deadline.

The complaint itself is a document that includes all the claims that you are making against the defendant, the justification for such claims, and how much your are attempting to secure in damages.  After filing the complaint and serving notice upon the defendant, they will have an opportunity to respond to the accusations made in the complaint.  Depending on the circumstances, they may choose to file a counter-claim.


Yes, you can file an personal injury claim in Arizona on behalf of a loved one – especially if your loved one was incapacitated in the injury. Surviving loved ones of fatal injury victims are also entitled to seek legal help and may be eligible to recover wrongful death damages, including loss of earnings and loss of love and affection. Speak to a member of our law firm to review your options.

Step 3: Fact-Finding Through Discovery

Discovery is a fact-finding process in which each side makes requests for documents and asks a number of specific questions (for which they are entitled to receive an answer).  Through discovery, you will be able to glean many insights into the case that could not have been known by simply investigating the accident and gathering publicly-accessible documents.  Savvy Phoenix personal injury lawyers, like those at our firm, use discovery to make broad requests that are just barely justified by the circumstances, and defend aggressively against similarly broad intrusions.

Oftentimes, litigation is won through clever use of discovery.


To successfully make a personal injury claim against any person, company, or government entity in Arizona, you will need to show that the individual or entity owed you some type of legal obligation or legal duty.

You have to show that the person or entity failed to fulfill the obligations that existed. You can do this by proving that the person or entity was unreasonably negligent or by showing that they violated a safety rule, such as in the case of a driver who was driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

You will also have to show that the violation was the direct or proximate cause of the injuries you sustained. In other words, there can’t have been some intervening third-party cause for your injuries that the other person couldn’t possibly have accounted for.

And, finally, to recover the compensation you deserve, you will have to demonstrate the full extent of your damages. You’ll need to prove the entirety of your case by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that you will need to show that it is more likely than not that your version of events is true and that you actually were hurt by the person whom you are claiming harmed you.

Step 4: Pre-Trial Procedures

Disputes do not often proceed all the way through to trial.  In many cases, motions are filed and the case is resolved by the court before trial litigation begins (i.e., a motion for summary judgment).  Mediation, arbitration, and other alternative forms of dispute resolution are also quite common.


While you can file a civil case and allow a jury to decide whether you should receive compensation and how much compensation to which you are entitled, you do not always have to go to trial in order to be able to obtain monetary damages.

In fact, many personal injury claims settle out of court. When a case settles outside of court, the insurer of the person or entity who hurt you agrees to provide you with a set amount of money to cover the losses that you have sustained. You are going to have to agree to sign a liability waiver to get the monetary damages that you have agreed to in a negotiated settlement – which means you give up any future rights to sue.

There are numerous benefits of a settlement for personal injury victims. For instance, you can often get the money quicker than if your case goes to court.  Also, you will avoid having to endure a trial and worrying about the opposing party appealing a verdict that may be made in your favor.  You will also not face uncertainty as to whether or not you will actually be compensated.

However, when you agree to a settlement and sign a waiver of liability, you can’t change your mind later. You will be bound by the liability waiver and won’t be able to try to get more money even if it is later discovered your losses were greater than expected or your injuries were more painful or costly. Because you give up further rights to sue when you settle, you want to make sure the settlement you’ve negotiated is actually fair to you.

An attorney can help you to negotiate a settlement and review any settlement offer before you agree to it in order to best protect your rights.


You’ll be dealing with an insurer in most cases, so the insurer will likely try to get you to settle for as little as possible so they don’t have to pay out much. You need to have a clear idea of what your case is worth so you won’t be swayed by accepting a settlement that is lower than it should be.

Negotiations may begin as early as the demand letter. This can start the negotiations on your terms. While you may not get the full amount of money that you are asking for, at least you will be working with your numbers when talking with the insurer. Our Phoenix personal injury attorneys make sure that the amount of money you aim to receive in a settlement is appropriate for your situation and is the most compensation you can receive.

Step 5: Trial Litigation

Eventually, if no proper resolution is reached, the case will proceed to trial.  Trial can take several weeks, depending on the complexity of the dispute at-issue.  In trial, the plaintiff and the defendant will present their evidence, introduce and challenge witnesses, and make persuasive arguments.  Effective trial lawyers, like our Phoenix personal injury attorneys, understand not only how to select jurors and utilize procedural edge-cases to give their clients an advantage, but also take steps to execute their strategy in a way that will be interpreted favorably by jurors.

In the event that a trial verdict goes poorly, you have a right to appeal the court’s decision.

Begin Your Claim Now and Hire Our Top Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have sustained injuries in an accident due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party in Arizona, then the law may give you a right of action for damages.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our website to connect to one of our skilled Phoenix personal injury lawyers for guidance.  Consultation is free and confidential, and we serve clients throughout Arizona.

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Got a legal matter that our lawyers can help you with?