It may seem like a walk in the park to file a personal injury claim and get the settlement amount within a couple of weeks, but in reality, it takes much more time and effort. For starters, you need to have solid proof that you were injured due to the negligence of another person and the personal and/or property damages that you incurred were a result of that accident.
A personal injury case is divided into several phases due to which it can take anywhere from 3 months to 3 years or more to get your claim. The phases are as follows:
The Medical Care Phase
After an accident, it is obvious that you should seek medical attention. It will not only ensure your wellbeing, it is also essential for your case. If you don’t seek medical care right away, the responsible party or your claim adjustor may argue that the injuries you sustained were not serious or related to the accident.
It is necessary that you document everything during your medical care, including prescriptions, diagnoses, therapies, and treatment. Moreover, keep copies of the medical payments and bills to have a physical record of your expenses. You may also document lost wages/income, if you missed work due to the injury. The medical care phase may take from a few weeks to several months based on the nature of your personal injury.
The Case Review Phase
During this phase, you may need a personal injury lawyer who will study your case and determine the value of your claim. Generally, a personal injury lawyer is crucial for cases that involve serious injuries and larger claims. After hiring a lawyer, they will review your case and may ask you about facts such as your injuries and treatment, accident details, and the records of your medical expenses.
After reviewing all the information, they will decide whether you should file a lawsuit or settle the case out of court by making a demand.
- i. Settlement
Since dealing with lawsuits is daunting for both the claimant and the defendant, most people prefer the latter option. Based on the medical expenses and other economic and non-economic damages you incurred, your lawyer will help you decide on the settlement amount. Mostly, this is done after you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which refers to the point in time when you have fully recovered and don’t require medical care anymore.
After pitching your demand to the defendant, it is likely that their lawyer will try to negotiate the amount of money. In case the negotiation fails, your lawyer may proceed with filing a lawsuit.
- ii. Lawsuit Filing
When you decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer will start the “discovery” process. It involves questioning third parties and gathering evidence to support the claim. It may also involve dispositions, which refers to statements of the involved parties and witnesses taken under an oath.
Finally, the court will provide you with an initial date of trial. Based on the complexity of the case, it can take weeks or months to reach the final verdict.
So if you are a victim of an accident and want to file a personal injury claim, contact Fisk & Monteleone LTD. today at 815-209-9030 to schedule a free case consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.