It is essential to be proactive when pursuing a personal injury settlement. Insurance companies are slow to settle in, hoping to convince you to accept less than you deserve. Having a lawyer by your side will protect you from any pitfalls that may lie in the legal process of filing a personal injury claim.
The standard time frame for a bodily injury case
Below we have listed the main stages of a personal injury case. However, it is crucial to mention that each case is unique. Therefore, depending on the specifics of your case, there may be some deviation from the norm. In addition, state law also plays a crucial role in this process, as some legal aspects may differ from state to state.
Obtain medical treatment
You need to see a doctor to confirm the extent of your injuries. Early diagnosis and a treatment plan can go a long way in your recovery. That is why you should see a doctor if you suspect the slightest chance of having suffered an injury.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you can go to the emergency room or to your doctor. Failure to do so convinces the insurance company that you weren’t seriously injured, according to a Georgia-based personal injury attorney.
Hire a lawyer
It is essential to consult or hire a lawyer early in the process. Your lawyer will be better able to locate witnesses, view the scene of the accident when it is fresh, and search for the other driver’s file. Plus, if the other party makes false claims, you’ll have a head start in proving what really happened.
The investigation process
Your lawyer can begin to investigate the accident and any point of contention. Your information provides the crux of your case, so it’s important to remember all the little details.
Lawyers don’t like surprises, so tell your lawyer everything, including information that could cast a negative light on you. They will also investigate your injuries from medical records and interview your doctor. Unfortunately, this stage can last for months in the event of serious injuries.
Lawyers make requests
Using research on your injuries, the lawyer can estimate expenses and damages, including future medical bills. Most lawyers won’t reveal their estimates until you start showing maximum medical improvement, also known as MMI. However, they usually sue for a larger amount to make room for negotiations.
Filing a claim for bodily injury
The threat of litigation often forces an acceptable offer to settle, but there is no guarantee. In this case, your lawyer files a complaint. Each state has different pre-trial procedures and filing deadlines. Your lawyer will make sure that all deadlines are met on time.
The discovery phase
After filing the complaint, both parties enter a process called discovery. Meanwhile, the two sides investigate the evidence in the other party’s case. They question witnesses, send interrogations and take legal statements. This process can take anywhere from six months to a year, or even longer.
You get a trial date, but that doesn’t mean the trial won’t be delayed for some reason. You may have the option of pursuing mediation. This serves as an alternative to trial, where settlement agreements are often negotiated.
After receiving a verdict during the trial, the case can be appealed by both parties. Complex cases can last for several years, but your lawyer can usually help you find resources if you need funds. Funding possibilities include social services, charities, litigation loans, etc.
Other key aspects of a personal injury case
According to a recent study, your case may raise other concerns. Numerous studies have shown that even minor injuries can lead to permanent personal problems. Socio-economic issues top the list. Knowing exactly what to expect during the lengthy litigation process has been proven to reduce anxiety.
Prepare your suitcase for the long haul
Understanding what to expect during a lengthy settlement and trial process makes it easier. You can get personalized advice from your lawyer. This paves the way for proactive pressure for your claim using all the tools at your disposal.
Sarah Douglas has been passionate about all things law since taking the hammer from her mother. Her in-depth knowledge of the legal field and previous professional experience has given her a unique perspective on writing, which she sees as a way to help and connect with others.