Everyone who files a
personal injury claim wants to know how long it will be until the process ends and they receive
their fair compensation. Some cases are going to settle in only a few
weeks but others could take upwards of two years due to complications
and a massive total of damages. However, regardless of the full duration
of a claim’s timeline, or the type of accident that calls for a
claim, each case is going to move through the same series of steps from
start to finish.
The 11 steps of a personal injury lawsuit will always be:
Retaining an attorney: To begin any claim or lawsuit, you should always find a trustworthy personal
injury lawyer. Think of the legal landscape like a real new frontier.
You would not want to trek across unfamiliar territory without a guide,
so why would you start a claim without an attorney? In many cases, the
key difference between a fair settlement received and nothing at all is
the attorney’s influence and expertise.
Investigate the case: What actually happened in your accident? Your attorney will start collecting
and researching specific data, evidence, and information to find out.
Each case will have a unique set of data to investigate. A
car accident case might have an accident report, a
medical malpractice claim could have medical records, and so on.
Medical treatment: You and anyone else injured in the accident needs to start receiving all
recommended medical treatments. Failing to follow a doctor’s orders
to the letter could increase the injured party’s liability. Remember
that you and your personal injury attorney will be
fighting for maximized compensation that pays for all your medical bills. Do not
hesitate to get treated based on price – your health is paramount.
At-fault insurance liability: At this point in a personal injury claim, your lawyer should have a good
idea who is at-fault for what happened. The
insurance company of the responsible party will be notified that their client has been identified
as liable for damages. Policy limits will be reviewed as well.
Pre-suit negotiations: This is your first chance to end your personal injury claim. After seeing
the facts and hearing the initial arguments compiled by your attorney,
the insurance company’s adjuster may decide to calculate an initial
settlement offer. If the offer is fair, then your attorney may suggest
you accept it and the case will conclude. In many situations, initial
settlement offers are deliberately low, though. Do not be surprised if
your attorney recommends you not take the first deal.
Lawsuit filing: Assuming that step 5 was not the final step of your personal injury claim,
you will now need to actually file a lawsuit against the liable party
or insurance company. Once your lawsuit is filed, the insurance provider
should recognize that you are willing to go through whatever lengths are
necessary to receive compensation and justice. This may be enough to influence
them to offer a better settlement.
Discovery process: Your personal injury lawsuit is a two-sided affair. What does the opposition
know that you do not? Is the insurance company planning on submitting
key evidence you do not know exists? The discovery process allows your
personal injury attorney to share critical information, like interrogatories
and depositions, with the opposing counsel, and vice versa.
Evaluation and mediation: The case will be submitted to a panel that evaluates the claim, determines
how much compensation the plaintiff should receive, and presents its findings
to both sides of the case. If you and the opposition think this new evaluated
amount is fair, you both can accept it and the case concludes. The great
majority of personal injury claims conclude in step 8, as most people
and insurance companies do not want to spend too much time on a single case.
Trial preparation: In uncommon circumstances, step 8 will not end a personal injury case.
A trial will be necessary to reach the end. Before the trial starts, your
attorney will prepare diligently to make a case that influences a judge
and jury, by empowering your argument, dismantling the argument of the
opposition, or both. All the evidence found in step 2 will be a centerpiece
of step 9.
Courtroom trial: With your attorney by your side, or fully acting on your behalf, you will
go to trial against the opposition. Insurance companies try to stay away
from courtroom trials since these can be costly to defend and also bring
your case to the public’s attention, which could be negative PR.
In the middle of a trial, you may be offered another settlement offer
to conclude it quietly. Always check with your personal injury lawyer
before signing any settlement offer.
Conclusion: After any amount of days – ranging from less than a week to a few
months – the trial will end and the jury must give a verdict. If
your attorney has succeeded in presenting your story convincingly, then
the jury will present you with a fair settlement, or jury award. Many
of these jury awards will also include the legal costs associated with
Do you have questions about the legal process of a personal injury lawsuit?
Goodman Acker P.C. and our Detroit personal injury lawyers would be happy
to answer them during a
free consultation. Just dial
248.793.2010 to connect with our team, learn about your rights, and discover what our
legal services can do for a claim of your own.