Most people don’t know the timeline of a personal injury case. In fact, before hiring a personal injury lawyer, many people think personal injury claims are fast. Most people do not understand that insurance companies exist to turn profits and not to pay claims.
While the process can be confusing, if handled properly, a car accident or slip and fall claim can get the victim all of their necessary medical care and a fair settlement offer for their injuries. However, many people who seek legal advice need an attorney to show them how the entire process works.
The Beginning of the Personal Injury Case
In the moments after the victim’s car accident or slip and fall, they will make many decisions that will affect the outcome of their case. Injury victims should gather evidence about their accident and seek medical treatment immediately. They should also hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Attorneys use these consultation to discuss general information about a case before the victim hires them.
Once the victim has started treating for their injuries, their attorney ought to be collecting facts about the incident and requesting medical records. This allows the attorney to begin to learn everything important about their client’s case.
Additionally, the victim’s attorney should get the insurance claim setup with the insurance company. This will allow the attorney to be aware of any hurdles the case might face early on. Further, setting up the claim early allows the attorney to expedite settlement when the time comes.
The Demand Process
Demand letters are probably the most important part of the timeline of a personal injury case. Personal injury law firms handle the demand process differently. Some of the lazier and larger settlement mills will wait long periods of time to send a demand. Other attorneys will send demands earlier and more often in cases in an effort to keep pressure on the insurance company. Regardless of your personal injury attorney’s demand strategy, the demand process is an important part of your personal injury case.
Essentially, an injury victim’s demand letter (or letters) tell their story. A demand should convey vital information about who the victim was before the injury. The demand letter should tell the insurance company how their insured caused the accident. And it should tell the insurance company the damages their insured’s negligence has caused.
Personal injury attorneys do not send demand letters strictly for informational purposes. They send demand letters to create a genuine understanding of the injury and suffering the victim has experienced as a result of the tortfeasor’s negligence.
Once the attorney submits the demand, the insurance company must review the demand and its attachments. The insurance company will then provide an evaluation of the claim. This probably won’t surprise many of the patrons of this blog, but their evaluation is typically quite low.
Depending on how low the offer is, an experienced personal injury attorney may want to attempt to negotiate with the insurance company. There is always the possibility that the insurance company was pulling a fast one. They often fairly evaluate claims but start by making low offers to take advantage of weak attorneys.
The Litigation Process
If the insurance company makes an insultingly low offer or if negotiations fail, it may be time to file a lawsuit and enter litigation. Litigation truly deserves an entire blog unto itself. However, in brief, litigation is a long and difficult process that can often end with an amazing outcome. But not all personal injury attorneys are willing to file personal injury lawsuits.
Due to the expense and risks associated with litigation, many personal injury attorneys do not file lawsuits. Additionally, even large firms that advertise on billboards about how much they get their clients and claim that you’ll love your attorney avoid filing lawsuits.
Essentially, a case moves into litigation when the injured victim’s attorney files a complaint and serves the defendant. After the attorney serves the lawsuit, the two sides enter into the discovery process. This process allows both sides to learn about each other’s case’s strengths and weaknesses.
Once discovery is completed, the two sides will meet for mediation. This is both sides’ opportunity to settle the case without going all the way to trial. Should the case not settle at mediation, both sides will begin to prepare for a trial. While cases can still settle before trial, mediation is the last best chance many cases have to resolve prior to going to trial.
Personal injury trials are an entirely separate beast. They require intelligent, experienced, and cunning attorneys to be done well. And ultimately, at trial, both sides leave their fate up to a group of people they do not know. It is incredibly stressful for everyone involved.
Call Knapp Accident & Injury Law to Discuss the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident or slip and fall, call us today for a free consultation. Knapp Accident & Injury Law has the experience to guide you through the entire personal injury process. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (813) 568-3724.