Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you are likely entitled to compensation. However, securing this compensation can be difficult. If insurance carriers or at-fault parties refuse to offer a fair settlement, injury victims may be forced to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation they deserve.
Our injury lawyers in Sacramento understand the often-complex personal injury lawsuit timeline. It is important to understand that no two personal injury cases are exactly alike, and pinpointing an exact timeline for a case is very difficult.
Stage 1 – Treating The Injuries
The absolute most important aspect of any personal injury case is ensuring that the victim receives adequate care so that they can recover. This includes initial emergency medical care as well as all follow-up visits, physical therapy, necessary surgeries, chiropractic treatment, and more. No settlements should be negotiated or accepted until after the injury victim has reached maximum medical improvement.
Stage 2 – Collecting Information And Communicating With Other Parties
Even while stage one is ongoing, an attorney or the injury victim can begin gathering various types of evidence and information related to the incident. This can include:
- Communicating with the insurance carrier and adjusters to file the claim
- Gathering accident reports, witness statements, photo or video evidence, and more
- Working to get any damaged property repaired
- Obtaining and fully reviewing all insurance policies
- Working with accident reconstruction experts
Stage 3 – Evaluating The Case
After all of the relevant documents and pertinent records have been obtained, the injury victim (or preferably their accident attorney) will work to determine the value of the claim. This will include properly calculating all economic losses, which include medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage, and more. This will also include working to properly calculate all non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, etc.
Stage 4 – A Demand Letter
A demand letter, complete with an estimate for the entire case’s value, will be sent to the insurance carrier or at-fault party. This letter will include an analysis of all cases and laws that apply, copies of all gathered evidence, copies of medical reports and expert witness reports, etc.
Stage 5 – Negotiating and Settling
After a demand is sent to the insurance carrier or at-fault party, it is very likely that a counteroffer will be returned. In some cases, the other party may even deny the claim. If a counteroffer is returned, negotiations between attorneys for both sides will begin. The ultimate goal is for the injury victim to receive full compensation for their losses. However, if a claim is denied or if the other side refuses to offer a fair settlement amount, it may be necessary to proceed to a jury trial.
Stage 6 – Distribution of a Settlement
After a settlement has been agreed on, or after a jury has rendered their verdict, the last phase will be payment of the compensation to the injury victim. This will be either done in a lump-sum payment or a larger structured settlement that pays out over the course of months or years.
Contact an Attorney for Help with your Personal Injury Case
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can use their resources and legal expertise to fully investigate the incident, determine liability, and help secure maximum compensation for your injuries and other losses. This can include coverage of all medical bills related to the incident, lost income if you cannot work, general out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.