The Process and Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured and are experiencing significant pain and suffering, inability to work, and high medical bills, then you are no doubt wondering what the process and timeline will be for filing a personal injury claim so that you can win your recovery, breathe a sigh of relief, and move forward with your financial bases and healthcare needs covered. Much of the process and timeline will be dependent on you, the injured victim, as you alone will have the power to determine how to proceed in your suit. For example, if you want any kind of recovery as quickly as possible, you might be willing to settle for a lowball settlement from a defendant’s insurer immediately after notifying them of the claim. On the other hand, if you’re holding out for a recovery far in excess of what a defendant is willing to offer, you may have to go all the way to trial and even an appeal to obtain recovery. Below, however, is a brief overview of the process and timeline after you have been injured, subject to how you and your attorney decide to proceed.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible
Of course, your first priority after an injury is to get the emergency medical care you need. In addition, however, you should contact a personal injury as soon as possible after that in order to: 1) determine whether you do indeed have a viable personal injury claim; and 2) if so, begin the process of building your case for recovery.
Your Attorney Will Investigate Your Injuries
The reason it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible is because, in order to recover, it will be necessary for your attorney to be able to identify all potential defendants who are liable for injuries and establish the facts that prove they were at fault. This includes collecting physical evidence from the scene of the injury, medical evidence from your medical providers, eyewitness evidence, surveillance footage, and so on.
It may be easier to establish liability in some cases than others, and your attorney will have a better idea of your odds after this initial investigation. Meanwhile, your attorney will also work with your medical provider to determine the full range of costs you will face over your lifetime from the injuries as well as your level of pain and suffering and what effect the injury will have on your ability to earn income.
Negotiations Will Commence with Defendants
Using the information gleaned during the investigation, your attorney will then negotiate with all defendants (and/or their insurers) to reach a settlement if possible. The amount of recovery will depend upon how much damages you are entitled to (your medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering) along with the likelihood of being able to prove fault at trial. The higher the likelihood that your attorney can prove fault at trial, the more likely you are to be able to recover a larger settlement at this point. Again, this is where you as the client will have the final say of approving or rejecting a final settlement offer.
Going to Trial
If you and the defendant are not able to reach a settlement, then you will proceed towards a trial. Before going to trial, however, both parties may engage in making various filings in court, including complaints, motions to dismiss, answers, motions for summary judgment, and so on. Discovery will also happen during this period, which can include depositions to determine what information will be testified to at trial, and document requests by both parties. All of this information will give both parties a better sense of what to expect at trial, and may spur on more settlement negotiations as the facts of the case become clear.
Once all pre-trial procedures are completed, a jury will be seated for the civil trial, and both the plaintiff and defendant will present their cases in full to the jury. The parties may still settle at any point during this process, but, if they do not, the jury will decide whether the defendant is liable to the plaintiff and how much of an award should be paid. Very few personal injury cases proceed all the way to a jury verdict, but it is important to work with a personal injury who has the experience to win at trial if necessary.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in the Inland Empire
At McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, our personal injury team – led by partner Cory Weck, a Marine Corps officer with over 20 years of service to his country and 15 years of experience litigating personal injury cases – has repeatedly won verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients across the Inland Empire in the millions of dollars. Our attorneys understand that the fear, anxiety, and pain that you and your family are going through following a personal injury, and we are dedicated to doing everything we can to help our clients get the help they need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.