For those who were recently injured in an accident caused by another entity’s negligence, it is likely that a personal injury claim will be filed against the other party. The purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to pursue compensation related to the incident, such as reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the like. Furthermore, depending on the outcome of the personal injury case, the likelihood of a similar incident occurring to somebody else may be reduced.
Still, the process of going through a personal injury claim can be complex. By gaining a better understanding of how the legal process works, those pursuing compensation for their case can be better prepared.
The Research Phase
The first phase of a personal injury claim is the research phase. During this time, your personal injury lawyer will work to collect all the information and documentation needed to put together a settlement proposal. This will likely be the most demanding phase for you, as your lawyer will be asking you questions left and right. You will also need to provide some documentation, such as copies of any medical bills or related records.
Your lawyer will do as much of the leg-work as possible here, including sending out any appropriate letters to insurance companies or obtaining copies of police reports and other official documentation regarding the incident.
The Settlement Proposal Phase
Once your lawyer has the information needed to better understand the specifics of your case, he or she will begin the second phase of working on a settlement proposal to be submitted to the insurance company. This settlement proposal will include a detailed description of your side of the story, as well as an explanation of your requested settlement amount. For example, if your lawyer has determined you should seek $20,000 in compensation, your settlement proposal will include a detailed rationale for that figure.
This can be one of the longest phases of the process, as it can take some time for your lawyer to put this together.
The Negotiation and Settlement Phase
Phase three is comprised of the time between when the insurance company receives the settlement proposal and when a settlement is agreed upon between both parties. Sometimes, it can take weeks or even months for the insurance company to respond to the initial proposal. From there, it could take additional weeks or months of negotiations before a final agreement can be reached.
And, of course, in situations where a settlement cannot be reached, it will be necessary to get the courts involved, which can further draw out the process. We’ll look at the trial phase of a claim below.
The Disbursement Phase
The next phase of a personal injury case is disbursement, where you reach an agreeable settlement and receive your compensation, usually in the form of a check. In most cases, your lawyer will collect this check and then release it to you. Depending on your lawyer fees and other costs related to your settlement, you may need to pay some cash out of your settlement before it is completely released to you, but this will always be reviewed with you by your lawyer so you’ll be well prepared.
The Trial Phase
If terms aren’t met in the settlement phase, a lawsuit can be brought before the courts. During litigation, a case is made before a judge and jury. In court, your attorney will select a jury, depose witnesses, use expert witnesses and present evidence on your behalf. While not all attorneys take cases with the intention of going to court, the attorneys at the Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. believe that every case should be built ready to go all the way. This shows the other side that you mean business and improve a client’s chances of getting favorable compensation.
These are the main stages involved with a personal injury case, though each case is unique. Having the right lawyer by your side throughout the entire process will make it much more manageable for you, so be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you begin your claim.
If you’d like to learn more about what your personal injury case might entail, contact the Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. by filling out our contact form or calling us at (203) 865-6414 to schedule a free consultation.