Personal Injury Timeline
When another person causes an injury, that person can be liable for the accident victim’s damages. Damages may include economic losses, emotional trauma, and physical injuries. The process of recovering compensation for your damages after an injury begins with filing a personal injury claim. However, many accident victims are unfamiliar with how to file a personal injury case. Therefore, they contact a Burbank personal injury attorney or auto accident lawyer to discuss an injury claim.
Serious injury lawyers take the time to explain the process of filing injury claims to their clients. They understand that an accident or injury can turn a person’s world upside down. The situation is stressful and frustrating. Knowing more about the personal injury timeline will not speed up the process. However, it can reduce stress levels.
Timeline for a Personal Injury Case by Serious Injury Lawyers
The best Burbank lawyer will tell you that each personal injury case is unique. The facts and circumstances of the case significantly impact the timeline for resolving the claim. However, there are common steps that apply in most injury cases. Cases include automobile accidents, truck accidents, work-related accidents, and slip and fall claims.
A general overview of personal injury claims includes:
- Injury Occurs
- Receiving Medical Treatment
- Consulting with a Burbank Personal Injury Attorney
- Investigating the Claim and Gathering Evidence
- Filing an Insurance Claim or Sending a Settlement Demand
- Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
- Discovery Phase
- Mediation or Arbitration
- Trial and Appeals
The steps in personal injury cases vary. The above steps might not apply in your case. Reviewing the steps gives you an idea of the general process used to settle a personal injury claim.
You never expect to be injured in an accident. It is not something that most people think about until it happens. Let’s review some steps to take after an accident or injury.
Immediately report the accident or injury. After a traffic accident, call 911 to report the crash and request emergency medical services. If the injury occurred on another person’s property or at work, report the injury to the owner or other person in charge immediately. Report dog bites to the police and the local animal control agencies.
If it is safe for you to do so, try to take as many pictures of the accident scene as possible. Making a video of the accident scene with your cell phone can also be useful in personal injury cases. Additionally, try to get the names and contact information for any eyewitnesses. Information and evidence you collect at the accident scene can be useful in proving fault and liability for a personal injury claim.
Avoid discussing the accident with anyone except for an auto accident lawyer or personal injury attorneys in Burbank.
Receiving Medical Treatment
Accident injuries may not always be immediately recognizable. Some symptoms might not appear for several hours or days after an accident. The shock and rush of adrenaline after a traumatic event can mask injury symptoms.
Even if you do not believe you are seriously injured, do not verbalize that belief at the accident scene. Instead, see a medical professional as soon as possible. It is also a good idea to take pictures of any visible accident injuries to provide additional evidence for an injury claim.
The pain you experience while walking may indicate you have a fracture. The pain that increases in the hours and days after a car accident could indicate you sustained a neck injury, such as whiplash. A persistent headache might be a sign of a concussion or traumatic brain injury. Even the slightest symptoms should be reviewed by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Prompt medical attention protects your health. However, it also protects your right to fair compensation for your damages. Delays in medical treatment can hurt your personal injury claim. Insurance companies use delays in medical care to allege that the accident did not cause your injury. In other words, the insurance company is saying that you are “faking your injury” to receive money.
Consulting with a Burbank Personal Injury Attorney
Some individuals may decide to deal directly with the insurance company to settle their injury claim without consulting a car crash attorney. For instance, motorcycle accidents with property damage only may not require the help of a personal injury law firm.
Hiring an attorney may not be necessary for some car accidents. For example, car accident lawyers may not be needed unless you sustain serious injuries. However, how do you know if you need a personal injury lawyer until you talk with the lawyer?
At Yarian & Associates, APC, we offer free consultations for injury victims and their families. You are under no obligation to hire our law firm after your consultation. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by seeking the advice of a legal professional. However, you do have much to gain.
Meeting with an accidents lawyer allows you to obtain legal advice from an advocate for accident victims. The insurance claims adjusters protect the best interest of the insurance company. You need to obtain advice about your claim from someone who has your best interest in mind.
Factors that indicate you can benefit from consulting a personal injury lawyer include:
- Sustaining a traumatic injury
- Out of work because of an injury
- The other side disputes the claim
- Your medical bills are high
- You sustained a permanent impairment
- Your child was injured
- A government entity is involved in the accident
At the very least, talking with a lawyer right after an accident or injury can help you avoid making an error or mistake that could result in receiving much less money for your injury claim.
Investigating the Claim and Gathering Evidence
Once you hire Yarian & Associates, APC, our legal team begins an exhaustive and comprehensive investigation. We determine what caused your injury and who is responsible for your damages. We search for evidence that proves fault and liability. Our team also works with you and your physicians to carefully document your damages to maximize your recovery.
Some of the steps that we might take as we investigate a personal injury claim include:
- Interview you to obtain more information about the accident, your medical history, and background
- Identify and interview eyewitnesses
- Gather evidence from the accident scene, including physical evidence and data from vehicles involved in a crash and videos of the accident from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras
- Review insurance policies that might provide coverage for an injury claim
- Collect medical records and billing statements from all medical providers
- Analyze statutes, case law, and other legal sources for causes of action related to your claim
- Work with experts to gather evidence and document damages, such as medical experts, accident reconstructionists, economic experts
There could be a dozen more steps that your attorney might take when investigating your claim, depending on the type of personal injury claim and the facts of the case. At Yarian & Associates, APC, we are serious injury lawyers. Our legal team investigates the claim until we uncover the truth about what happened to you.
Filing an Insurance Claim or Sending a Settlement Demand
Most personal injury claims are settled without going to court. The insurance company for the at-fault party negotiates a settlement with the victim. Your lawyer handles filing insurance claims related to your accident. The insurance company assigns a claims adjuster to investigate and assess the claim. You do not need to talk to the claims adjuster or any other party related to the claim because your lawyer handles all communications for you.
When you complete medical treatment and your attorney completes the investigation, your lawyer prepares a settlement demand. The settlement demand is a letter explaining why the other party is liable for your damages, the injuries you sustained because of the other party’s negligence, and the amount of money you demand to settle the claim. The attorney may attach a summary of your financial losses and a summary of your medical records.
The insurance company may accept the demand and pay the amount in full. It may also deny the demand or make a counteroffer. Your lawyer updates you on the progress of the settlement negotiations. Back and forth negotiations are typical in many cases.
When the insurance company makes a final offer and refuses to negotiate further, your personal injury attorney discusses the pros and cons of accepting the offer. If you might share liability for the accident or your injury, it might be best to accept the offer instead of taking the matter to court. The expense and uncertainty of a lawsuit should also be considered when deciding whether to accept a settlement offer.
Once you sign a settlement agreement, your claim is closed. The agreement releases all parties from any further liability for your claim. Therefore, you cannot demand more money after you sign a release, even if you discover additional damages or injuries. For that reason, it is wise to consult a Burbank personal injury lawyer before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company or other party.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Some injury claims cannot be settled out of court. If you proceed with a lawsuit, your lawyer handles preparing and filing all documents necessary to begin the lawsuit.
There are deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits, called statutes of limitation. Most personal injury lawsuits in California must be filed within two years from the date of injury. That deadline could be shorter if the case involves a government entity. It is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after an injury or accident to protect your right to file a lawsuit seeking damages.
Your attorney files a Complaint with the Clerk of Court. The Complaint names the party who caused your injury as the defendant and sets forth your allegations of fault and damages. The insurance company generally hires a lawyer to defend the lawsuit. The attorneys handle all communications regarding the claim and lawsuit.
The discovery phase of a lawsuit may last for months. Each party exchanges information and evidence through a variety of discovery tools. Your lawyer may take depositions of witnesses, request copies of evidence, and serve Request for Admissions on the other party. The defense lawyer may conduct similar discovery.
During discovery, each party has a chance to analyze the other party’s evidence to determine the strength and weakness of their case.
Mediation or Arbitration
Parties may agree to mediation or arbitration as an alternative form of dispute resolution. Mediation is not binding. A mediator is a neutral party that facilitates discussions between the parties to arrive at a settlement.
Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. In binding arbitration, the parties must accept the decision of the neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator acts as a judge. In non-binding arbitration, either party may reject the decision and proceed with the lawsuit.
Trial and Appeals
During a personal injury trial, each party presents testimony and evidence for a jury to consider. The jury is the decider of the facts. Jurors may believe all or part of a person’s testimony. They may choose to believe none of a person’s testimony. After hearing all testimony and evidence, the jurors decide in favor of one of the parties. If the jury decides in your favor, it also awards a monetary judgment for your damages.
If either party disagrees with the jury’s verdict, it can appeal the decision. Appeals could take several years to settle.
Our Burbank personal injury attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC are aggressive, talented trial lawyers. We have the resources, skills, and experience to handle the most complicated personal injury trial. Our attorneys are also seasoned and proficient negotiators. We work diligently inside and outside of the courtroom to recover fair and just compensation for our clients. Our legal team is passionate about protecting the legal rights and best interests of our clients.
Contact our office by calling (844)291-1911 to schedule your free consultation with a Burbank personal injury lawyer.