Personal Injury Lawyer
Have you been the victim of an accident that was not your fault? Did someone else’s error or negligence cause you physical and/or emotional harm? If so, you might be a good candidate for a personal injury claim against the party that caused you harm.
Most of these cases are settled out of court. That’s good news for both victims and defendants, who can avoid the high costs and long delays often associated with a trial.
Here’s a look at the steps and timeline of a personal injury lawsuit.
Seek Medical Treatment
Accident victims should visit their doctor and get treatment within 24-48 hours of the accident. This provides an official record of your injuries.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Look for an experienced personal injury lawyer shortly after the accident, discuss your situation and the extent of your injuries as well as the party’s actions that caused the accident.
Accident Investigation, Medical Records Review
Your lawyer will interview you and review your medical records to assess how long it may take you to recover and the estimated costs that should be given to you.
Demand for a Settlement
Once you have recovered physically, you have reached a point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). This could take several weeks or months. If the at-fault party has not offered adequate compensation, your lawyer may make a demand for compensation.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Is Filed
If settlement talks break down, your attorney may file a personal injury suit in court. Timing of this filing could be determined by a state’s statute of limitations. State laws vary, but, in most cases, it takes 1-2 years for a personal injury suit to come to trial.
Here, both parties investigate the others’ claims, send questions (interrogatories) to each other, and deposes accident witnesses. This process can take 6-12 months.
Mediation and Negotiation
This is a last-ditch effort to reach a settlement before going to court. Here, a third-party mediator works with both sides to come up with a solution amenable to both parties.
A trial can last a day, a week or much longer. Both lawyers typically participate in opening statements, the presentation of evidence, interrogating witnesses and closing arguments. Either the jury (in some cases) or a judge will hand down a final ruling. Avoiding a lengthy trial process is often the best solution if a reasonable settlement can be reached, as an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis, IN from a law office such as the Ward & Ward Law Firm, can explain.