If you were injured in an accident and are thinking about whether to file a lawsuit, you may have questions about the phases of what will happen and when. This list of the stages that make up a typical personal injury lawsuit timeline will give you an overview of the process.
It’s important to note that every legal case looks different. Talk to one of our personal injury lawyers at Garmey Law for more specific information about your potential case.
Stage 1: Consult with an Attorney
The first thing you should do is talk with a personal injury attorney. The attorney will ask you questions to learn more about your case, and you can ask any questions. After the initial consultation, you can decide whether or not you want to hire an attorney to represent you. At Garmey Law, we provide a free, no-obligation consultation and case review.
Stage 2: Investigate the Accident and Gather Evidence
Once you have hired an attorney, your legal team will gather evidence that they will use to build your case. This involves investigating the accident and finding out who was at fault. The team will also gather your medical records to calculate the full extent of your need for medical treatment. Depending on the case, they may consult with financial and medical experts.
Stage 3: File a Lawsuit Before the Deadline
Time limits, called “statutes of limitation,” govern how long you have to file a lawsuit after the accident. These deadlines vary depending on certain circumstances. Your lawyer can advise you on the deadlines that apply to your case. Getting started as early as possible is always a good idea while the evidence remains fresh.
Stage 4: Conduct Discovery
During the discovery phase, your lawyers and the lawyers for the other party’s insurance company will exchange information. This may involve providing the other side with documents and conducting depositions.
Stage 5: Negotiate
Your attorney will negotiate with the attorneys or representatives from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible. Your attorney will fight to ensure you get the fair settlement amount you deserve.
If you agree to a settlement offer, you will receive a check, and the lawsuit will end. If you reject a settlement offer, your attorney and the insurance company may continue negotiating. The case will go to court if they cannot agree on a settlement.
Stage 6: File Suit
If your claim cannot be resolved through pre-suit negotiation, the next step is to begin a formal lawsuit. This process will require both parties to submit to “discovery,” the legal fact-gathering process. You will most likely be required to answer written questions, provide the relevant documents and evidence in your possession, and sit for an oral deposition where the other party’s attorney can ask you questions under oath. Your lawyer will take the same opportunities to gather discovery from the other side’s witnesses.
Stage 7: Mediate
The court may order that you mediate your case. Mediation is an informal process that gives you another chance to settle your case. If you do not agree during mediation, your case will go to trial.
Stage 8: Present the Case to a Jury
Most personal injury cases settle before going to trial. Some cases, though, do have a jury trial. Your lawyer will represent you in court and guide you through the process.
The Garmey Law personal injury team will be by your side through every stage of your lawsuit. We are well known throughout the state and the country for our in-depth knowledge of personal injury law and dedication to getting life-changing compensation for our clients. Call us today at (207) 481-4683 or contact us online for a free consultation.