Personal Injury Case Timeline
The timeline of a personal injury case can vary and is usually not a quick fix. It’s best to ensure that you know all aspects of your injuries and damages before finalizing your claim. Once you settle your, you can’t go back and ask for more money. Gathering information and learning the facts of the case can be a long process for both the plaintiff and defendant.
The personal injury attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter have extensive experience in all types of personal injury cases, having represented the rights of victims for many years. We know what to expect and how to develop a strategy to ensure protection of your legal rights. The timeline for a typical personal injury case looks like this:
Medical Treatment and Information Gathering
First and foremost, the victim needs to heal. Once you finish treatment (or are well underway), it is possible to assess the extent of injuries. At this point in the timeline, it’s important to begin collecting all information related to your injuries so you have factual support for your claim. Through your attorney, you will request all medical records involved with your treatment, including care from first responders, any procedures at the emergency room, surgeries, aftercare, physical therapy, and long-term treatment. Some victims in these types of cases never fully recover from their injuries, so the medical records related to such a diagnosis will also be critical.
These details are important to your claim in three respects:
- They are proof of your medical expenses;
- The records establish the extent of your injuries for purposes of proving pain and suffering; and,
- They show why you’re unable to work, supporting a claim for lost wages.
Your doctor must establish the permanency or expected duration of your injuries. This also includes the need for future treatment. Afterwards, you and your attorney can work towards resolution of the claim.
Many personal injury matters come to a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company. It is often ideal to do so without filing a lawsuit. The process begins by filing a claim. Next your attorney sends a damages package that includes a letter describing how the accident occurred. It also states the reasons the insurer’s policyholder is responsible, the details of your injuries and treatment, and the damages you sustained as a result. You would also provide the information you gathered as factual support. Finally, your letter may conclude with the dollar value you would be willing to accept to settle your case.
The demand package is crucial because it opens the door for settlement discussions with the insurer. An agent will assess the information and confer with the policyholder about his or her version of events. The insurance company will also evaluate the details of your claim to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Once the claim evaluation is complete, you will receive a notification that:
- The insurance company accepts the claim in the amount requested and you can expect a check (this never happens);
- Your claim is denied in full because the policyholder was not at fault; or,
- The insurer is making a counteroffer.
After the claim has been filed and the insurer notifies you of its decision, your attorney will work to get the case resolved. These settlement negotiations may take time, so it’s important to be patient. However, if a pre-suit resolution cannot be reached, the case may have to be filed in Court.
When a lawsuit is filed, the case goes through several phases, including service of the defendants, discovery (which may include depositions), exchange of expert witness reports and depositions, hearings on various pre-trial motions, and trial. Oftentimes, cases are resolved after a lawsuit has been filed but before the trial.
An Ohio Personal Injury Attorney Will Be with You Every Step of the Way
This basic overview in a personal injury case may be helpful, but it is important to note that the duration of each step in that timeline is a case-by-case issue. The length of time to resolution may take just a few months or several years. The skilled personal injury lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter will pursue your matter no matter how long in duration, and regardless of the strategy necessary to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve under the law. If it’s not possible to reach a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company, our attorneys will take the matter to court. For more information on how a personal injury case proceeds, please contact our Cleveland office at 216-242-1361 or contact us online to tell us more about your circumstances.