What to Expect from Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

stages of a personal injury case

Every situation is different and each case is unique, however there are common stages of personal injury lawsuits.

If you have been in a car accident where you were injured, you may find yourself filing a personal injury claim. Because you may not know what to expect, we’ve outlined some of the common elements of a personal injury case.

Medical care

Seek medical care, without getting medical care after your accident a claims adjuster or the other party’s lawyer could claim that your injuries weren’t serious or were not a result of the accident. Always be sure to get:

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Prescriptions

It’s important to finish all required medical treatment. Record it all and keep copies of bills.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

You could settle the claim with your car insurance, however if the insurance settlement seems unfair to you, you have the right to legal aid. A lawyer could protect you from an unfair settlement, the initial consultation is free when you call 1-800-THE-LAW2 and we have a network of knowledge and experienced lawyers across California to connect you with.

Review Phase

After we connect you with a personal injury lawyer they will begin to collect information about your claim:

  • Accident details: witness information, photos of the accident scene, your property and injuries, and police reports
  • Your injuries and medical treatment
  • Medical expenses and records

Upon review your lawyer will determine the value of your damages and whether to negotiate a fair settlement, file a lawsuit on your behalf, or find that your situation does not merit a claim.

Types of damages your attorney will weigh include:

  • Economic: these are financial losses like damages to your vehicle, medical costs and loss of wages at work
  • Non-economic: these are emotional and psychological tolls

Making a Demand:

Once the damages have been outlined and equated to a monetary settlement, your lawyer will formalize a demand letter. Once the demand is made, your attorney will proceed with negotiations, as the insurance company may likely not agree to the proposed settlement amount.

Why Do So Many Cases Settle?

  • Settlements allow a defendant to control risks and avoid legal costs
  • Settlements can allow a defendant to keep the case out of the public eye
  • Settlements allow a plaintiff to avoid a long trial
  • Settlement delays due to trial
  • The chance of an appeal
  • Settlements allow a plaintiff a guaranteed victory

If they case can’t be settled out of court, the trial will proceed, unless the claim is dropped.

Time Limits to Bring a Case: The ‘Statute of Limitations’

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to court and file a lawsuit against those who could be responsible.

How Often Should I Hear from My Attorney?

The research that goes into determining whether you have a case and then the value of that case is a time intensive process. Personal injury cases are lengthy by nature and negotiations are no different.

It’s natural to be curious about the status of your claim, but know that your attorney’s office has paralegals on staff to help guide your case and answer your questions.

Patience is key in personal injury cases and as the old proverb states often no news is good news.