In case you are injured in a car accident, and it appears as if it was the other party’s fault, you will find yourself wondering what to expect from the case and ask yourself how long the case will take. We will go through the entire process and settlement procedure in a personal injury claim.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
In any accident case, it is always advisable to discuss all possible options with a personal injury lawyer. For tiny injuries, you can handle yourself provided that you feel comfortable during the process, and you are almost sure that you will get a fair outcome. However, in case you have suffered a significant injury, you might need a lawyer who is helpful and knowledgeable, or you are in a situation whereby your opponent is preparing for the case using facts, get a lawyer. It is always advisable to seek an experienced lawyer with decades of experience in representing car accident clients in trial and appellate courts whereby you stand a higher chance to get the outstanding medical care for those injuries along with the right compensation. Generally, in case you broke a bone, or you have a massive medical bill, it’s always advisable to speak to a professional lawyer.
Demands and Negotiations
Some personal injury cases tend to be resolved way before any lawsuit is filed. In case your lawyer believes that the case could be resolved, it is his duty to issue demands to your opponent’s attorney or the insurance company. The best lawyers in the country often remain calm and wait until the plaintiff reaches maximum medical improvement before making demands. At this point, the plaintiff is partially recovered, and it would be easier to make estimates. Besides, the lawsuit should be filed after the MMI since, without it, a jury might undervalue such a case. When the settlement process stalls or in case the opposing sides fail to come to terms, the case will proceed to the litigation phase.
Filing of the Lawsuit
Litigation begins when both you and your lawyer join hands in filing the personal injury lawsuit. Filing the lawsuit initiates the clock and dictates when the case will head to trial. All state pre-trial procedures happen differently, you can also visit kerleyschaffer.com to get more ideas on how to proceed with the trial, although most cases take between one and two years for the case to get to trial. Always remember that any lawsuit should be filed within the given time limits set by a given state, also referred to as the statute of limitations.
This phase involves conducting investigations on issues that the opposing party claims to base its defense upon. Your opponents’ lawyer will send document requests and interrogatories then take depositions of witnesses and all other relevant parties. The discovery phase lasts for at least six months, depending on the nature of the case and the set deadlines.
Negotiation and Mediation
Towards the end of the discovery phase, lawyers from both sides will begin taking settlements. In some cases, the lawyers could agree on a solution just by holding a conversation. Still, in case they opt for mediation, both parties will get help from an unbiased third-party mediator who will attempt to resolve the issue.
Most of the time, the mediation talks would work, but in case it fails, the case would be scheduled for a trial. The trials could last a week or longer, and the duration could be affected by the state given that in some states, trials are only conducted half the day while in others, they spend the whole day listening to opposing sides’ claims. In case your hearing is held in a half-day state, then your trial duration will be doubled.
However, an essential factor to note is that despite the lawsuit being set for trial, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that the trial would be heard on that particular date. Your trial date might be adjusted to fit the judge’s schedule, and in case that happens, it could mean that an unfavorable activity is underway. Most trials are delayed for various reasons, but you should hope for the best outcome at the end.
Generally, for any successful personal injury claim, you will have to prove that indeed you were hurt and that it was a result of a different party’s carelessness. Data collection would be essential in the claim process, therefore, ensure that you consult with your attorney every step of the way and have evidence documents such as police abstracts, pictures, and medical bills as you fight for your rightful compensation.