If you’ve been wounded in an accident that seems to be the responsibility of someone else, you may be wondering what to anticipate in a normal personal injury case, such as how long it will take. The latest guideline by Pittsburgh Injury Lawyers P.C. walks you through the typical timeframe of a personal injury claim.
As you read, bear in mind that most personal injury claims settle out of court frequently without the need for a lawsuit. As a result, your case is unlikely to go through all of the stages described here; it may resolve at any point along with the schedule.
- Seek Medical Attention:
The very first thing you should do if you are wounded in an incident is to seek medical attention. That is, if you have even the smallest suspicion that you are injured, go to the emergency department or schedule an appointment with your doctor. Not only is this the proper thing to do for your health, but if you don’t visit a doctor for a while after an incident, the insurance agent and jury are likely to think that your injuries aren’t severe.
- Contact a Personal Injury Attorney:
Other than for a small claim, it’s generally a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney. You can handle a minor personal injury claim on your own (as long as you’re familiar with the procedure and sure you’ll achieve a fair outcome). Still, you’ll require an attorney for any personal injury lawsuit if you sustained severe damage or the opposing side is fighting on important points. In fact, if you are not working for more than a few days, if you break bones, or if your medical expenses exceed a thousand dollars, you should consult with a lawyer.
- A Lawyer Investigates the Claim and Examines the Medical Records:
Your lawyer will interview you first of all. The lawyer is interested in learning all you know about the incident, your wounds, and your medical care. Lawyers don’t like being startled, so be sure to address all inquiries fully.The lawyer will next get all of your medical documents and invoices related to the injury, as well as any medication you have ever had for the ailment at issue in the lawsuit. This process may take months.
- Lawyer Thinks About Making a Demand and Negotiating:
Many minor personal injury cases are resolved without the need for a lawsuit. If the lawyer believes the matter can be resolved, they will demand the opposing lawyer or the opposing side’s insurance company.
An effective lawyer waits until their client has reached the highest medical development known as maximal medical improvement before initiating any claims. When the individual has done all of their medical treatment and is as healthy as possible, this happens. As a result, the lawyer is unaware of the approximate amount of the case until the plaintiff has maximized his recovery.
After an accident, a lawyer/ law firm should wait until MMI has occurred before bringing a lawsuit. If the plaintiff does not achieve the fair market value (MMI) by the time the case reaches trial, the jury may give the case an unduly low value.
If settlement negotiations break down or the two parties are too far apart, the matter enters the “litigation” phase.
- A Personal Injury Lawsuit is Filed :
When your lawyer lodges a personal injury case in court, the litigation process begins. The lodging of the lawsuit begins the countdown to when the matter may go to trial. Pretrial processes vary by state, but a personal injury lawsuit will typically take one to two years to reach trial. A lawsuit must be filed within tight time restrictions established by each state under a law known as a statute of limitations.
- A Personal Injury Case’s Discovery Phase:
During the discovery process, each party examines the opposing party’s legal claims and defenses. They exchange interrogatories and document requests and take affidavits of all relating parties and witnesses, usually with the plaintiff and defendant. Based on the judiciary’s deadlines and the intricacy of the case, this procedure may take anywhere from six months to a year.
- Negotiation and Mediation:
When the discovery phase is complete, the attorneys will usually start negotiating a settlement. Sometimes the attorneys may deal just by talking among themselves. Still, in other instances, they will proceed to mediation, a procedure in which both clients and lawyers seek assistance from an unbiased third-party mediator to resolve the issue.
Mediation is frequently successful, but if it is not, the matter is arranged for trial. A personal injury trial may take a day, a week, or even many months. Because many jurisdictions have trials for just half a day rather than a full day, the duration may be extended. This increases the duration of a trial but allows attorneys and judges to do other tasks in the afternoon.
One thing to keep in mind regarding trials is that whether a case is filed for trial does not guarantee that the trial will occur on that date. Trials are often put out due to the judge’s schedule. If your trial is rescheduled, you should not assume that anything bad is going on. Trials are often postponed, even for the most benign of reasons.
How Long Does A Personal Injury Case Typically Take?
Cases that get to trial may linger for more than a year. Many cases are resolved before a case goes to court. The higher the profile of the legal company you choose, the more likely the defendant will need to settle the matter without going to court. Insurance firms, for example, are usually wary of spending significant amounts of money on attorneys to defend a case just to lose it at trial and be compelled to pay the same or more than they’ve ever paid before the settlement of the suit. This may have a significant impact on the timeframe for a personal injury settlement.
If you have suffered a personal injury and are unsure whether to for legal action, you can contact Pittsburgh Injury Lawyers P.C. for a free consultation.