Jessica Whitton, a freelance writer and paralegal, has written a good summary of the major steps in a personal injury lawsuit.
Before I summarize what she wrote, I want to point out one important factor:
Time is of the essence in IMMEDIATELY consulting a lawyer. There are many insurance companies who are training their employees to immediately contact an injured person with hopes that the can get that injured person to sign off on their claims before that person has a chance to learn the true severity of their injuries or the full extent of their possible claims.
Many times, these claims adjusters will mislead the vulnerable injured person, and accordingly, it is critically important that an injured person hire a lawyer to protect their interests.
Please remember the time for bringing a negligence claim in New York state is three years and two years in Pennsylvania.
Here is Jessica’s step-by-step approach to understanding the typical steps in a personal-injury lawsuit:
- Seek Medical Attention: Immediately. Go to your doctor or closest hospital and get checked out. Immediately. As Jessica points out, it will give you an edge if your insurance company tries to prove that there was no injury and an immediate hospital visit shows the jury you were hurt.
- Talk To A Lawyer: Call or email me if you have an accident, 24 hours a day, seven days a week: (607) 733-8866 or [email protected]. If I am not immediately available, I will get back to you ASAP.
- Commencement Of Investigations: Starts immediately after your lawyer agrees to accept your case. Make sure to provide all pertinent information and be honest about the accident and your medical condition to avoid surprises in the courtroom.
- Attorney Files An Insurance Claim: Jessica correctly writes that most personal injury cases get settled out of court but to be safe and well-prepared, at ZiffLaw we assume every case will go to trial. We have learned that if you are ready to go to trial, you have substantial leverage to achieve the best results for our clients. In car accident cases, we submit a comprehensive settlement package to the at-fault driver’s insurance company detailing important information about your claim: your injuries, lost wages, medical treatment, and any permanent limitations.
- Attorney Files A Lawsuit: If the insurance company does not settle your claim out of court, your attorney may see no other option than to file a lawsuit.
- Discovery: The plaintiff and defendant investigate one another using the documents and evidence submitted.
- Mediation: Following the completion of discovery and before trial, the parties may agree to mediate the case with a trained mediator who attempts to broker a mutually acceptable settlement.
- Trial: All parties are present as the jury hears the evidence in the case. Most car crash trials are relatively short– 3-4 days– but some more complex cases can take weeks or even months.
At ZiffLaw, we do everything in our power to keep our cases moving as quickly as possible. With that said, we will not rush any case as we know achieving maximum recovery for our clients often requires us to do things the hard way, not the easy and fast way. We truly believe our willingness to go the extra mile distinguishes us from other lawyers who are willing to accept an easy and fast settlement rather than do the hard work necessary to get the very best result.
Thanks for reading! Leave me a message below if you have any questions.