Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Personal Injury Case Timeline

Although the great majority of personal injury cases end up settling instead of going to court, it is important to know the steps that a personal injury case needs to follow to reach a successful ending should the settlement not come through. Even cases that appear to be heading to court may end up settling at any point.

Here is a basic personal injury case timeline:

Make Medical Treatment a Priority

After your accident, you probably have to deal with the police and get an accident report. However, as soon as that is done you should head towards a medical facility to get your injuries checked out. This may mean either a stop at an emergency room or an appointment with your own physician. Not seeing to your injuries right away will send a clear message to the other party, the insurance adjuster, and the jury that you did not consider your injuries to be serious enough to require attention.

Talk to a Lawyer

If your injuries are not major, you may be able to tackle this case yourself. Otherwise, having the support and advice of a personal injury lawyer is vital. Your lawyer will have an in-depth conversation with you to understand what happened. Give them as detailed information as possible. They will also review your medical records and bills.

Filing a Claim or Settling

It’s a well-known fact that many personal injury claims are settled. If your lawyer thinks this is the way to go, they will make a demand to the other attorney. This can only happen once you have reached the point of maximum improvement in your injuries to be able to calculate the amount needed to cover your damages.

If no settlement is forthcoming or the amount offered is not what you were expecting, the lawsuit will be filed. This needs to happen before the statute of limitations runs out.

The Discovery Phase

At this stage, both parties will investigate the legal claims. They will send interrogatories and document requests. They will also take depositions of witnesses and any other relevant parties. This process may take between six months and a year, depending on how complex the case is.

Mediation and Negotiation

At this point, lawyers will bring up the possibility of reaching a settlement. This might be accomplished just by having them negotiate amongst themselves. In other cases, a mediator will be called upon to try to resolve the case.

The Trial

A personal injury trial may be over in as little as one day or it may take longer. In many cases, the trial goes on in the morning, and in the afternoons the lawyers have time to get other things done. The judge’s schedule will impact exactly when the trial takes place and it may also end up being pushed back for that same reason.

Before the trial gets underway, a jury will have to be selected. Then, both parties will have the opportunity to make opening statements. Then, first, the plaintiff will present evidence, followed by the defendant presenting its own evidence. After closing arguments and deliberation, a verdict will be reached.

If you still have questions regarding the timeline of your case or would like to talk to a personal injury lawyer, click here to get the answers you seek.
Image via Pixabay

This is a guest blog entry.

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