Personal Injury cases can be devastating. This is because it has the potential of harming your normal daily activities and setting an individual back by years, especially when they have suffered an injury as a result of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. In some cases, personal injury accidents may lead to fatal or non-fatal accidents which can either be temporary or permanent. If you have been involved in such an accident as this and have sustained an injury, then you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury case in Pasadena within the stipulated time frame allowed by the law.
While personal injury cases can be lengthy in some cases and others quick, there is a need to understand that as a victim of such an accident which has impacted your life and health, there is a timeline during which you can seek legal recourse and redress for the damages you have suffered due to the negligence of the at-fault party.
If you are wondering how long a personal injury case could take and what goes on at each stage of the case, then you should read below;
Getting Medical Care and Treatment for Injuries Sustained
If you have been involved in a personal injury accident, one of the very first steps to take is to ensure that you visit a medical treatment and care facility to have yourself checked out. While some injuries may appear visible at the end of an accident, for instance, a car accident, others may not be readily visible to the external eyes, including internal bleeding, ruptured veins, impacted organs and others. Seeking appropriate medical attention in the aftermath of an accident will help reveal these internal and external injuries which you may have sustained. In addition, this allows for the medical care facility and your primary care providers to place you under observation, especially as a means to detect early signs of delayed symptoms which may arise as a result of the accident.
Failure to see a medical doctor for some time after the accident can put the entirety of your claims case in jeopardy as the insurance adjuster will assume the lack of medical care and report to show injuries sustained means an absence of injury.
Choosing a Lawyer to File Your Claim
After seeking appropriate medical attention and ensuring that you remain religious especially with medical appointments, treatment procedures and other necessary aspects of your treatment, the next step is to hire an attorney to handle your legal needs. When choosing an attorney, look for one that is familiar with the area of personal injury case which you are dealing with. Whether it is a major or minor claim, you should also understand that the choice of an attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case as an experienced attorney is more likely to demand more in compensation and win the case against the insurance company or at-fault party.
In general, while most people suggest that you may not need the services of a lawyer for minor cases where you suffered no bodily harm, it is recommended that you protect your legal interest either way by hiring one. If you must draw the line between minor and major personal injury claims, then, you can consider your personal injury case to be major if you have suffered an injury which has kept you away from work for some days. Some of the common injuries associated with major personal injury cases include broken bones or limbs, spinal cord injury,
Traumatic Brain Injury, and others. If you or a loved one has suffered one or more of these injuries, or in other cases, death, be sure to hire an attorney.
Lawyer Investigated the Claim, Reviews the Medical Records, Calculates Case Worth
After you have hired an attorney that is best suited for the job, the lawyer will begin work on reviewing and examining the case which you have presented to him or her. During the course of the examination, the lawyer can determine whether or not you have a case to pursue. If you have a case to pursue, the lawyer will interview you on the accident and all other information relevant to the accident and injury which you have sustained. As part of the interview, your background, medical history, history of injuries, medical conditions and medical treatments which you have undergone in the past and as a result of the accident will be placed under the microscope. The interview will allow the lawyer better access to information that could prove useful during the course of trial or negotiation.
The lawyer will then proceed to get your medical records and all medical bills related to treatments for the injury which you have sustained as a result of the other person’s negligence. Calculating your past, present, and future medical cost, getting your medical records, and putting together a case can take months.
The lawyer will review all medical records that come in to see the disparity between your health prior to the accident and after.
The Lawyer Considers Demand and Negotiation
After a thorough case review, if you still have a claim to pursue, the lawyer can approach the at-fault party or insurance provider with demands and offer for negotiation. However, if the lawyer has a case of permanent injuries on their hands, chances are high that they will instead file a suit against the at-fault party.
Many personal injury cases, especially the minor ones, end in settlement. However, for huge cases like trucking accidents, permanent disabilities, death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and more, the lawyer will instead file a suit to enable them to get the full worth of the claim.
Filing a Lawsuit
The timeline to file a lawsuit begins running from the day the injury occurred. In some states, there is a certain statute of limitation which allows the injury victim as much as 3 years from the day of the injury to file a lawsuit. While every state has a different pre-trial process, it may take between one year and two years for the case to get to trial.
The Discovery Process
Here is when each party, both the plaintiff and opposing counsel investigate the claims. During this process, the opposing counsel sends questions and document request to the plaintiff and the same is reciprocated. Depositions can be taken of all the relevant witnesses and the entirety of this process can last about six months to a year.
Mediation and Negotiation
Towards the end of the discovery period, the lawyers may start talking about negotiating settlements out of court. Sometimes, a lawyer may decide to settle a case but in other cases, they may proceed to trial.
During this process, oftentimes after mediation broke down, the court, jury and all others involved are allowed to decide on the compensation which the victim is entitled to. A personal injury trial may last for a week, a month, a year, or longer.
The length of the trial may increase significantly if the case had occurred in states where trials are held for half a day instead of a full day.