The timeline of a personal injury case depends on the unique factors and circumstances involved. Personal injury cases include claims related to car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, product liability claims, and other personal injuries. If another person caused your injury by negligence or intentional acts, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages.
Understandably, you want to settle your personal injury claim as soon as possible. However, rushing to settlement can decrease the amount you receive for your damages. Therefore, it is important to be patient when filing a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.
What Are the Steps Involved in a Personal Injury Case?
Numerous factors could impact how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim.
Factors that could impact your personal injury timeline include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you sustained a permanent disability or impairment
- The parties involved in your case
- The insurance company for the at-fault party
- The complexity of your case
- Whether you hire an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer
- Disputes related to causation, fault, and liability
- Allegations of comparative fault and failure to mitigate damages
- The willingness of the parties to reach a settlement
Understanding the steps for filing a claim can help you know what to expect. While all of the following steps might not apply in your case, it is helpful to review each step to anticipate the timeline when you file a personal injury claim.
The Accident or Injury Occurs
The first event is your injury or accident. You can begin protecting your rights at the accident scene.
Report the accident immediately. Never admit fault for the cause of the accident. Remember, the statements you make at the accident scene could be used against you in a personal injury case.
If possible, use your cell phone or other electronic devices to take photographs and videos of the accident scene. Make notes about relevant information, including witnesses’ names and contact information.
Receiving Medical Treatment for Injuries
After an injury or accident, it is crucial to seek medical care. If you were injured in a collision, you must receive medical treatment within 14 days to receive benefits under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) car insurance policy.
Additionally, delays in medical care could hurt your personal injury case against the at-fault party. You must have medical records to prove that the accident caused your injuries. An insurance company might point to delays in medical care as failure to mitigate damages or evidence that the accident did not cause your injuries.
Contacting a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer
The sooner you seek legal advice about your injury claim, the better for your case. Waiting to talk with a lawyer could result in mistakes and errors that hurt your case. An accident attorney provides guidance, legal advice, and support as you deal with insurance adjusters, repair shops, medical professionals, insurance investigators, and other parties.
Talking with our personal injury lawyers in St. Petersburg does not cost anything. It is also affordable to hire an injury lawyer. Our firm accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, so you do not pay any upfront money to hire our injury lawyers to handle your case.
Conducting an Independent Investigation To Gather Evidence
We do not rely on the information from an accident report or police report. Our legal team performs an independent investigation to determine the cause of your injury.
Steps that we take when investigating a personal injury case or preparing a lawsuit include, but are not limited to:
- Obtain copies of police and accident reports
- Communicate with your medical providers regarding your injuries
- Consult experts, including accident reconstructionists and financial specialists
- Interview witnesses and review statements taken at the accident scene
- Search for videos and photographs of the accident
- Monitor investigations by federal, state, and local authorities
- Identify each party involved in the accident and determine whether they contributed to the cause of your injury
- Obtain copies of insurance policies and review each policy to verify coverage
- Collect evidence from the accident scene
- Schedule an examination of vehicles involved in a car accident (or other physical evidence for different types of accidents)
The evidence used to prove a personal injury claim depends on the specific claim. Therefore, we may take additional steps to obtain evidence to build a solid case establishing fault and liability.
Filing an Insurance Claim and Preparing a Settlement Demand Letter
Our legal team files insurance claims soon after we identify the parties involved in the accident and verify insurance coverage. Then, after you complete medical treatment and we complete our investigation, we will prepare a settlement demand letter.
A demand letter outlines why the at-fault party is liable for your damages. Sections of the demand letter include:
- Summary of the facts of the case
- An analysis of the law that creates legal liability for the claim
- An explanation of your injuries
- List of economic damages, including an itemization of lost wages and medical bills
- Details explaining why you are entitled to non-economic damages, including pain and suffering
- A settlement offer you are willing to accept to resolve the claim
The insurance company accepts or denies the settlement demand. It could take several weeks for the insurance company to review the demand and reply.
In many cases, we receive counteroffers for lower amounts and then engage in settlement negotiations. We might agree to enter mediation or arbitration to settle the claim depending on the case.
If you agree to a settlement offer, the insurance company issues a settlement check within a few weeks after signing a settlement agreement. After settling medical liens and subrogation claims, our law firm deducts our contingency fee and costs before issuing a net settlement check to you.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Most personal injury cases settle without filing a lawsuit or going to court. However, we sometimes file lawsuits to protect our client’s best interests. Filing a lawsuit can lengthen the timeline for a personal injury case by a year or longer.
The steps in a personal injury lawsuit include the following:
- Filing a complaint and serving it on the defendant (at-fault party)
- Receiving a response to the lawsuit
- Conducting discovery
- Engaging in settlement negotiations, mediation, and/or arbitration
- Filing pre-trial motions
Obtaining a verdict in your favor does not guarantee a personal injury payment. Before we proceed with a lawsuit, we’ll discuss the risks of going to trial versus the advantages of accepting a settlement offer. The defendant might appeal the decision, or they might not have sufficient funds to pay the judgment.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyers To Discuss Your Case
We understand you need your personal injury settlement as soon as possible. Our legal team at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys will work diligently to settle your personal injury claim as quickly as possible. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney by calling (727) 933-0015.