Knowledge about the personal injury lawsuit process can help to estimate the completion time

The better you understand the process of claiming compensation for personal injury, the easier it will be to set the right expectations about the outcome. How much time it takes for settlement of a claim is difficult to answer. It depends on the nature of the claim and its complexities with complex claims taking more time for settlement.

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Moreover, whether the claim settlement happens at the level of insurers or it goes to court for trial is another factor that determines how much time it takes for settlement. Good understanding of the events that take place should give a fair idea about what goes on behind the process of claim settlement. It helps to gain insight into the timeline of events too.

Get treated after an accident

The first thing to do after an accident is to ensure that your life is safe.  Getting medical treatment for injured persons should be your priority. Go to a hospital or see a doctor not only for ensuring your health, but it also has a legal impact. In the absence of the doctor’s report, it will be hard to establish that you were hurt in the accident and sustained injuries. You must get medical treatment within some time of the accident or else the insurance adjuster and the jury would never accept that you had sustained injuries in the accident.

Contact a lawyer

As soon gain some composure after the medical treatment, you should take the next step in filing a personal injury claim. You must now choose a lawyer who takes up your case for fling compensation unless the claim is so small that you can try to take up the process by yourself. But still, a lawyer is always helpful even for small claims because the process of filing a claim and seeking settlement is the same. However, if the injuries and losses are significant, then the claim amount would also be higher. In such a case, appointing a personal injury lawyer by logging on to dennishernandez is a must. 

To decide whether you must have a lawyer, you should be able to distinguish between small and big claim.  What constitutes a small claim, and when should you consider the claim to be big are questions that you must be able to answer.  If your medical bill runs into a few thousand dollars, you are out of work for quite some time, and the injuries are quite severe like broken bones or brain damage then it is a case for claiming higher compensation for losses, damages, pain, and suffering. 

Fix a lawyer after talking to and meeting a few of them to sign a fee agreement with someone you feel dependent enough to handle your case.

Claim investigation and review of medical records by the lawyer

The lawyer will first listen from you how the accident had happened and what were the consequences. Who else got hurt in the accident? How serious were the injuries? These are what the lawyer would like to know in addition to your medical condition, medical treatment, and above all your background? The lawyer would like to learn from you every detail about the accident, injuries, and medical treatment. They want to gather extensive information so that they do not get surprised later.

The lawyer will then get all medical records and bills related to the medical treatment undergone by you after the accident. He or she might even go to the extent of calling for your medical records for any treatment that you ever had related to the condition at issue in this case. The process can take a few months.

After reviewing all medical records, the lawyer will decide if there is a strong case to claim compensation. It may also happen that the lawyer does not find enough reason to build a case and hence would not like to pursue it that they tell the client.

Negotiating for settlement

If the lawyer thinks that the case is suitable for settlement, which happens for most average claims, there would be no need to file a lawsuit. The lawyer will place a demand for the attorney of the other side or with their insurance company. If there is no scope for settlement, filing lawsuit is the only option.  Depending on the seriousness of injuries like permanent disablement or permanent injury, the lawyer would prefer to file a lawsuit only.  A good lawyer will make the demand only when the plaintiff reaches a point of maximum medical improvement. That is usually the end of the medical treatment, and he or she has recovered enough.  The same applies to file a lawsuit because if the lawsuit happens before the point of maximum medical improvement, the jury would have reasons to undervalue the case.

The plaintiff might have to wait for many months until reaching the stage of maximum medical improvement provided he or she can withstand it financially. 

Filing the lawsuit

The filing of lawsuit sets the clock ticking for the case to go for trial. It should take about one or two years for the case to go to trial even though the pre-trial procedures of the states are different. Filing the lawsuit within the stipulated time according to the state laws is very important.

The discovery process, mediation, and negotiation

During this stage, both parties investigate the legal claims and defenses of the other party. They send questionnaires and document request to one another and take depositions of witnesses of both sides. Depending on the complexity of the case and the deadlines set by the court, the process can take between 6 months to a year. Soon after concluding the discover process lawyers start discussing settlement. Either the settlement happens by discussion among them or through mediation. It involves a third party as a mediator who tries to settle the case.

Finally, if the mediation fails, it leads to a trial, which can last for a few days or even up to many weeks.  The time might extend due to rescheduling of dates by the judge. However, delay in trials is quite normal.

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Eva Vergis

Eva Vergis is a notable and influential lifestyle writer. She is a mom of two and a successful homemaker. She loves to cook and create beautiful projects with her family. She writes informative and fun articles that her readers love and enjoy. You can directly connect with her on email id- [email protected] or visit her website