When you are involved in an accident that was caused by someone else's negligent actions, such as a car accident, slip
The process of filing a lawsuit and seeking compensation for your losses can seem daunting. Many people want to know what to expect when they hire an attorney to assist with their case.
At The Brown Firm we believe that the more educated you are in the process, the less stressful it will be.
We have come up with a Timeline for your Personal Injury Case that we hope will shed some light on what you can expect after you have been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault.
1. Seek Medical Attention
The first step you need to take after being involved in an accident is to seek immediate medical treatment. This needs to be done regardless of how you feel right after the accident occurs because injuries can take time to present symptoms.
Trust us, it is in your best interest moving forward, to have medical documentation stating that you needed treatment because of an accident that you were involved in.
In the event that you begin to feel pain hours or days after the accident occurs, you will already have medical documentation of your injuries.
This eliminates the chance of the insurance company claiming that your injuries were not a result of the accident. They won't be able to win that case because there will be documentation from a professional medical specialist who is stating the opposite.
You can read further in this article about the importance of medical documentation. You may be asking," What if it was only a minor auto accident?" You can learn more about why it's still important to be looked at by a medical professional here.
2. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
You may think that this step has come to early in the timeline, that maybe you should wait to speak with the insurance company before consulting with a personal injury attorney.
However, this is not the case, because attorneys will not take on a case that does not need an attorney.
So, what do you have to lose by having a free consultation with an attorney?
If you don't have a legitimate case, the attorney will say so, and if you do, then they can explain how to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Once you meet with an attorney and it is determined what course of action to take, with or without them, you will feel better knowing that you are headed in the right direction.
In this article, you can discover more on how a personal injury attorney decides to take a case.
3. Investigation of Claim and Medical Records
The first thing your lawyer will do is complete a thorough investigation into the accident, your medical condition, and medical treatment.
The attorney will want to know everything about your accident and the treatment protocols your medical provider has delivered.
Your attorney will also ask you questions regarding your past medical history and it is crucial for your case to answer as honestly and completely as possible.
Often times insurance companies will try to deny your claim by saying you had "pre-existing" medical issues, so it's important for your attorney to know what you have been treated for in the past so they can prepare a defense.
Your attorney will obtain all of your medical records and bills that are related to your accident. This may take a few months to complete. Your medical records cannot be collected until you have completed treatment and have been released by your attending doctor.
4. File a Claim/Demand a Settlement
Your lawyer will not make a demand until you have reached a point of maximum medical improvement. This occurs when you have completed treatment and have recovered as best you can.
Once your attorney knows the total amount of medical expenses that accumulated they will be able to demand an exact amount for your settlement. If your attorney believes that the case can be settled, they will make a demand to the other party's attorney or insurance company.
Otherwise, your attorney will file a lawsuit.
The demand letter from your attorney will state liability, describe the injuries that you suffered, the losses that were sustained, and demand an amount for compensation.
More than likely the insurance company or attorney will send a response to the demand letter with a counteroffer, which your attorney will then advise you on the situation, and only accept or deny the offer if that is your wish.
5. Filing a Lawsuit
If a settlement with the insurance company cannot be met, your attorney will file a lawsuit for compensation. Filing a lawsuit will start the clock on when the case could be taken to trial.
Lawsuits are not always the best course of action, but when an agreement cannot be reached, sometimes they are the only thing that will get insurance companies to respond.
Once the lawsuit is filed, the insurance company may feel more pressure to come to a fair settlement.
From the start of the lawsuit until the resolution, it could take a few years to come to an agreement. This is why your attorney will try to come to an agreement with the insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit.
If you are wondering why personal injury lawsuits take a long time, you can learn more about the topic here.
6. Discovery Process
The discovery process is where each party will investigate each other's claims and legal defenses. Depositions will be taken of all the relevant witnesses in the case, usually beginning with the plaintiff and the defendant.
Your attorney will be with every step of the way and will guide you when it comes to giving a deposition regarding the accident case.
This process alone can take 6 months to a year depending on the court's deadlines and the complexity of the case.
7. Negotiation and Mediation
Once the discovery period comes to an end, the attorneys will begin negotiating for a settlement. In some cases, the attorneys can settle a case during negotiations, but in other cases, they will go to mediation.
Mediation is a process which includes having both clients and attorneys go in front of a mediator and try to settle the case.
If the mediation process is unsuccessful, the case will be taken to trail. A personal injury trial can last anywhere from 1 day up to a week or longer. The length can be increased because, in some situations, trials are only held for half a day instead of a full day.
It's also important to note that in some cases a trial may be canceled and rescheduled for a later date depending on the judge's schedule. This will also add extra time to the process.
If your case goes to trial, it will then be up to a judge or jury to determine the amount of compensation that you are owed for the injuries and losses that you suffered.
Why Choose The Brown Firm?
If you were involved in an accident and believe it was caused by someone else's negligence, you will need to contact an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to represent you.
The Brown Firm Attorneys have been representing the injured for over 30 years.
Our team of lawyers
When you choose our firm, we make sure you are taken care of throughout the entire legal process. Our attorneys take a personal approach so you will feel that your case is receiving the amount of time and attention that it deserves.
Our Attorneys offer a free consultation with all accident victims. We will talk to you and let you know if you have a case. You have nothing to lose by calling us and scheduling a free consultation.
The Brown Firm Personal Injury Attorneys are ready to help you. Click the link below to schedule an appointment today.