When working with a personal injury attorney, it's common for clients to want to know what the timeline for a case is going to be. While no two particular claims are ever the same, there are a few things that most will have in common.
Gathering Evidence and Information
The meat of a claim is usually some collection of medical and police reports alongside witness and expert testimony. After all, most claims are fundamentally lists of physical injuries a person suffered.
This means that much of the initial claim process is about enumerating what happened and how those events led to the injuries the claimant is seeking compensation for. It's also critical to draw a line from those injuries to the actions or failures of allegedly at-fault individuals or organizations. This part can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of years, depending on how long it takes to get information about a client's medical state.
Many attorneys will not file claims until their clients are clearly showing medical improvement, just to be safe. If you accept compensation, it's close to impossible to go back for more if something big turns up at a later date.
Submitting a Claim
In most states, you'll have between two and three years from the time of an incident to submit a claim. When your personal injury lawyer feels the claim has been sufficiently fleshed out, they will send a demand letter to either the at-fault party or their insurance company.
Most states require a response of some kind within a few weeks. The insurance company will assign a claims adjuster who'll investigate the case. They will either propose a settlement or reject the claim. If the claim has been rejected, you can jump to the lawsuit portion of the timeline.
Most settlements aren't accepted in the first round of offers. Negotiations may go back and forth for months, and insurance companies know that claimants see the clock ticking while bills add up. If a negotiated settlement can't be reached, you always have the right to pursue a lawsuit.
The threat of going to trial is always at the back of every injury case. Suing can take years. In the first few months, the discovery of evidence will be conducted, and witnesses will be deposed. A trial will be scheduled if both sides haven't settled at this point. Jury selection and trials usually take days or weeks, but appeals can be tied up for years.
For more information, contact a personal injury attorney, such as Jack W Hanemann, P.S.