Comprehensive Timeline for A Personal Injury Case
If you’re thinking of contacting a personal injury lawyer to take on your case, you might be wondering what the timeline for the case might look like. It’s good to remember that no two cases are ever the same, so the timeline can vary greatly. But here’s what to expect in terms of a general timeline of a personal injury lawsuit so that you are knowledgeable about what’s to come.
Get Medical Treatment As Soon As Possible
The first thing that happens in a personal injury case is that you seek medical treatment. If you’re hurt, it’s imperative that you see a doctor or go to the hospital. Not only will it help ease the pain and provide you with answers to the extent of your injuries, but it will also prove to the insurance adjuster and jury that you are indeed hurt from the accident. If you don’t go to the doctor after a certain amount of time after an accident, it might appear as if you weren’t hurt at all. This can greatly impact your case and be a deciding factor if you win your personal injury claim or not.
Choose A Lawyer You Feel Comfortable With
Once you’ve seen a doctor, it’s time to find a personal injury attorney to take on your case. This is important and needs to be done in a timely manner to increase your chances of winning. Even if it’s a small claim, you should still consult with a lawyer to see what your odds of being successful are. But if you were involved in a major accident, then a personal injury will most likely take on your case. It’s important that you go with a personal injury attorney that you feel comfortable with since you’ll be working with them for quite some time. To find one that you vibe with the best, talk to a number of personal injury lawyers before choosing just one. After you choose one and sign their fee agreement, they’ll start working on your case right away.
The Personal Injury Lawyer Will Investigate Your Claim
The first thing the lawyer will do once they start your case is to investigate the claim. This entails finding out as much as they can about the accident, how it happened, what your background is, what the injuries were and the medical treatment your doctor set forth. Basically, your lawyer wants to know everything and anything as it relates to your case to represent you. Lawyers don’t like to be surprised about anything as they’re working on fighting for your case, so it’s important that you are as honest and open with them as possible. Answer any and all questions they ask and reply back to any requests in a timely manner. Know that this process can take several months as they go through all the information you’ve given them, including your medical bills and records. If they see any flaws in your case, they’ll let you know and determine if the case is strong or not. You’ll know if they can’t represent you because your case is too weak very early on in the process.
Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Is Filed
Usually, smaller personal injury cases are settled before your lawyer even files, but that’s not always the case. Once your personal injury lawyer has thoroughly investigated everything, they’ll then filed the lawsuit. If your claim involves a serious and/or permanent injury, the lawyer will most likely not settle before filing suit and that’s because they want to get the maximum amount owed to you. Once the lawsuit is filed, the clock on your case is started and it might eventually even make it all the way to trial. Every state has its own pretrial procedure, but usually, it takes anywhere from one to two years for personal injury cases to make it to trail. It’s good to know that there are strict time limits when a lawsuit is filed and it’s different in each state; this is called the statute of limitations. Every state has one and these deadlines are strict when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. Ask your personal injury attorney about the specific statute of limitation in the state that you currently reside in.
The Beginning of The Discovery Process
The discovery process of a lawsuit is when each party involved in the case starts to investigate the adversary’s legal claims so that they can defend it. Your lawyer will be in touch with the other party involved and their legal representation, in addition to insurance investigators. You’ll be sent interrogatories (basically just lots of questions) to answer and be asked to submit various documents. The same will be true for the other party. The discovery process can be very tedious and last anywhere from six months to a year as both parties go back and forth. The timeline of this process will depend on the court’s deadlines, too.
Mediation and Negotiation as The Case Inches Toward Settlement
Once the discovery period ends, lawyers on both sides will start talking about the settlement owed to you in a process that involves mediation and negotiation. In rare cases, some lawyers simply settle the case by just talking to one another, but more commonly, they’ll end up going to meditation. This is a process that involves both clients and lawyers as they go in front of a mediator to settle the case if they can without it having to go to trial.
If mediation doesn’t work, then the personal injury case will go to trial. This can last a day or even a month, depending on the complexity of the case. But just because a lawsuit trial is scheduled for a particular date, it doesn’t mean it will actually happen on that day. It’s very common for trails to get rescheduled because of the judge and their own schedule. So, don’t automatically assume that it’s canceled because the outcome will be unfavorable.
The timeline for a personal injury case can be quite long, so know that you won’t receive a settlement overnight. Determining the worth of your case takes experience, and the attorneys at One Law Group have the experience to help you win your case. At One Law Group, your injury is a priority and we believe that you should be able to heal without being stressed. Contact us at (310) 923-9420 for a consultation.