When you are involved in an accident caused by someone else's negligent actions, such as a car accident, slip and fall accident, or a medical malpractice accident, you deserve compensation for the injuries and damages you suffered.
The process of filing a personal injury claim or 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.
In the article below, we have put together a personal injury case timeline that we hope will shed some light on what you can expect after being involved in an accident that wasn't your fault.
Table Of Contents
- Seek Medical Attention
- Consult With A Personal Injury Attorney
- Investigation of Claim and Medical Records
- File A Claim/Demand A Settlement
- Filing A Lawsuit
- Discovery Process
- Negotiation and Mediation
- Why Choose The Brown Firm?
1. Seek Medical Attention
The first step you need to take after being involved in an accident in the state of Georgia is to seek immediate medical treatment.
Regardless of how you feel immediately after the accident, you should be evaluated by a doctor. Certain injuries, such as neck and back injuries, can take time to present symptoms.
Trust us; whether you have visible injuries or not, it is in your best interest to have proper medical documentation stating that you required treatment.
If you begin to feel pain hours or days after the accident occurs, you will already have medical documentation of your injuries.
This eliminates the insurance company claiming that your injuries were not a result of the accident. The insurance company won't win that argument since documentation from a professional medical specialist states 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 this step has come too early in the timeline, and maybe you should speak with your insurance company before consulting with a personal injury attorney. However, that is not the case.
So, what do you have to lose by receiving a free consultation with an attorney?
If you don't have a legitimate case, the attorney will say so, and if you do, they will explain how they can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Once you meet with an experienced personal injury attorney and determine what course of action to take, you will feel better knowing that you are headed in the right direction.
In this article, you can discover more about 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 conditions, and medical treatment plan.
The attorney will want to know everything about your accident and the treatment protocols your medical provider has given you.
Your attorney will ask you questions regarding your past medical history, and you must answer as completely and honestly as possible.
Insurance companies often try to deny your claim by saying you had "pre-existing" medical issues, so your attorney needs 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 been released by your 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 you accumulated, they will demand a more specific amount for your settlement.
If your attorney believes that they can settle the case, they will make demands 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 you suffered, the losses that were sustained, and demand an amount for compensation.
More than likely, the insurance company or other party's attorney will send a response to the demand letter with a counteroffer. Your attorney will advise you on the situation and only accept or deny the offer if that is what you want.
5. Filing a Lawsuit
If your attorney cannot meet a settlement with the insurance company, they 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 sometimes they are the only thing that will get insurance companies to respond if an agreement cannot be reached.
Once the lawsuit is filed, the insurance company may feel more pressure to reach 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 before filing a lawsuit.
If you are curious 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 from all relevant witnesses in the case, usually beginning with the plaintiff and the defendant.
Your attorney will be with you every step of the way and will guide you when it comes to giving a deposition regarding your accident case.
This process alone can take six months to a year, depending on the court's deadlines and the case's complexity.
7. Negotiation and Mediation
Once the discovery period comes to an end, the attorneys will begin negotiating for a settlement.
Sometimes, the attorneys can settle a case during negotiations, but they can go to mediation in other cases.
Mediation is a process that 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 lawyer will take the case to trial.
A personal injury trial can last anywhere from one day up to a week or longer. The timeframe can be increased because, in some situations, trials are only held for half a 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, adding extra time to the process.
If your case goes to trial, it will then be up to a judge and jury to determine the amount of compensation you are owed for the injuries and losses suffered.
Why Choose The Brown Firm?
If you were involved in an accident in Georgia and believe someone else's negligence caused it, the first step of filing a personal injury lawsuit is to contact an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to represent you.
The Brown Firm Attorneys have been representing the victims of personal injuries for more than 30 years. Our team of highly trained lawyers provides top-level legal representation.
When you choose The Brown Firm, we ensure you are taken care of throughout the entire legal process.
Our attorneys take a personal approach, so you feel your case is receiving the amount of time and attention it deserves. We offer a free consultation for all accident victims.
We will talk to you and let you know if you have a case. You have nothing to lose by calling The Brown Firm 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.