Personal injury cases are complicated and overwhelming, but understanding the processes can help make it seem less daunting. This articles lays out the stages of a personal injury case to help you better understand what you’re in for if you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit.
The Stages of a Personal Injury Case
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an accident and you hope to receive compensation for significant injuries or loss, you will need to hire a lawyer to investigate your claim and file your case. Talk to and meet with a few different lawyers before you choose one and sign an agreement. Once you do, your lawyer can begin working on your case.
Your Lawyer Investigates Your Claim
During your lawyer’s investigation, he or she will thoroughly interview you about what happened, your background, your medical condition and medical treatment. Your lawyer will also get all of your medical records and bills relating to your injury. The investigation can take anywhere from days to months.
Your Lawyer Will Make Demands and Negotiations
Your lawyer may be able to come to a settlement before filling a suit. Your lawyer will probably make a demand to the other side’s lawyer or insurance company, and if they don’t agree to the demands, your lawyer will file the lawsuit.
The Lawsuit Is Filed
It usually takes one to two years before a personal injury lawsuit goes to trial. Keep in mind that your lawsuit must be filed within you state’s statute of limitations.
The Discovery Process Takes Place
During the discovery process, each party investigates what the adversary’s legal claims and defenses are. They send questions and documents to each other, and take depositions of witnesses. Depending on how complex the case is, this processes can take 6 months to a year.
Mediation and Negotiations Happen
After the discovery process ends, lawyers will sometimes try to come to an agreement. They also have the option of going to mediation with their clients to try to come to a settlement and avoid going to trial.
The Trial Begins
If mediation doesn’t work and you can’t get the other side to agree to the terms you deserve, your case will go to trial. Trials can last days, weeks, or even longer.