Regardless of how a personal injury claim arises, most of these cases are going to be settled before going to court. In many personal injury cases, the parties will successfully reach a settlement before even filing a lawsuit.
Keep in mind, while reading through this timeline of events, each case is unique. Following is a typical example of the personal injury lawsuit process.
The accident occurs. At the accident, it’s important to gather information from any witnesses who saw what happened. Also, evaluate pains and injuries to determine if medical treatment is needed.
At this point, a police report needs to be filed. Having documentation after an accident can help with a personal injury claim down the road.
After the accident, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention. Even if the victim doesn’t believe they suffered a serious injury, it’s a good idea to be checked out. Many signs and symptoms of a problem don’t show up for days or even weeks later.
When medical treatment is sought, it’s imperative to follow all instructions given by the doctor. This is key to receiving a fair settlement for the accident that occurred. After all, if an accident victim doesn’t follow prescribed advice, the attorney for the at-fault individual may assume they aren’t really injured.
Schedule a Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney
The accident victim should then consult with a personal injury attorney such as those at Hadley Law Firmto discuss the situation. If the attorney believes the case deserves compensation, they will file the paperwork and move forward with the lawsuit.
In most cases, personal injury attorneys will seek several different types of compensation. This includes coverage for medical bills, the loss of future earning capacity, the costs of future medical care lost wages, and in some cases, pain and suffering.
At this point, the accident victim needs to negotiate attorney’s fees. The final part of this step is to sign an agreement with the attorney.
Negotiate a Settlement
The attorney hired will then contact the insurance company for the at-fault party. He or she will present the victim’s case and request damages for the injuries their client received. Negotiations include everything from an informal discussion over the phone, to the presentation of a formal demand letter requesting a specific amount of money in damages.
In most cases, the other attorney or insurance company will counter-offer with a lower amount. The negotiation process will go on until a settlement amount is agreed on. At this point, the case is resolved.
If Settlement Negotiations are Unsuccessful
If settlement talks break down and there’s no agreement is reached, then the attorney will move forward with the lawsuit. At this point, the case is presented through standard court procedures in a civil standpoint.
Proceeding to Civil Court
Each of the parties will file papers and go through the discovery process in court, which includes interrogations, depositions and document requests. In most cases, the negotiations will continue as ordered by the court.
Mediation or an alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a possibility. If no agreement can be found, then a judge will rule on the case according to the information presented by each side.
Timeline Depends on the Case
When going to court, there are more than a few factors that have to be considered. The timeline here provides a general overview of the case process. Keep in mind, the actual amount of time differs based on the case and situation, so there is no way to put a time table on this process.