Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline
If you’re planning to institute a personal injury lawsuit, you probably have concerns about what to expect and questions about the actions that you, yourself, must take. As any personal injury lawyer will tell you, the timeline of such cases usually follows a predictable course. Here is the path that you and your attorneys will follow.
Step 1: The Doctor Visit
Once you’ve decided to embark upon a personal injury proceeding, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is important not only for your own well-being but also as a means of bolstering your case. Any hesitation on your part could serve as an indication that your injuries are either insufficiently serious or entirely unrelated to the accident in question.
Step 2: The Search for a Personal Injury Attorney
Unless your condition is minor, you’re sure to need legal assistance to win the damages to which you are entitled. In general, you should obtain the services of a personal injury attorney if the accident in question has caused you to:
- Suffer serious injury or permanent impairment.
- Miss more than a few days of work.
- Require physical therapy or other follow-up care.
- Expect to incur medical bills in excess of $2,000 either now or in the future.
Step 3: The Attorney Consultation
The personal injury attorney you have chosen will want to know everything you are able to tell about your background, your medical condition, the details of the accident and any treatments you have received to date or expect to receive in the future. Don’t hold any information back. Your lawyer will need to understand the smallest detail, so give him as much as you can.
Step 4: The Investigatory Phase
After you have signed a fee agreement, your legal team will begin to gather all medical records and bills that directly relate to your current injuries. This sort of investigation could take months, but a good personal injury attorney will tell you early on if he feels you have no legitimate case.
Step 5: The Course of Action
Your lawyer will now determine the most appropriate means of handling your situation. If your injuries are relatively minor, your attorney may find it more appropriate to settle the claim through a demand for compensation to the attorney or insurance company that represents the other side. On the other hand, if the injuries are more serious or threaten to result in lifelong impairment, they will likely proceed with a lawsuit.
Nevertheless, a good personal injury lawyer will do neither until he is satisfied that you have reached the state of maximum medical improvement, or MMI. While this waiting period may pose some frustration, it allows the attorney to fully understand the entire worth of your case and thereby avoid its undervaluation.
Step 6: The Filing
Once he has achieved a good grasp of the total damages, your personal injury attorney will file the lawsuit. This is something that he must accomplish within the frame of time permitted by the statute of limitations. While the limit will vary from state to state, a Nevada lawyer who hopes to file a personal injury suit has two years in which to do so.
Step 7: The Pretrial Period
Once your lawyer has filed the suit, it could take up to two additional years for your case to come to trial. Although you may find it discouraging, this hiatus gives attorneys on both sides a chance to engage in a discovery process during which they request documentation, interrogate witnesses, take depositions and attempt to debunk each other’s claims.
During this period, attorneys for both sides will also begin to discuss the possibility of any potential settlement, sometimes engaging a mediator to help all interested parties come to an equitable resolution outside the courtroom.
Step 8: The Trial
If all attempts at mediation fail, the case will go to trial. Unfortunately, it may not do so on the scheduled date. Many things can conspire to postpone the proceedings, and these obstructions often relate to nothing more serious than conflicts in the judge’s schedule. Although such delays may seem ominous, they do not mean that the attorneys are conspiring against you, nor are they a sign that something unfavorable is about to happen.
Once the trial is actually underway, the time to conclusion is subject to wide variation. While some personal injury trials last no more than a day, other, more-complicated cases could drag on for months. Your personal injury lawyer has the knowledge and expertise to alleviate any concerns and anxieties that a protracted trial might cause.
Don’t put your health and well being in the hands of just any lawyer. Let the experienced attorneys from Weiner Law Group help you with your personal injury case. Call today at 702-202-0500 of fill out the contact form.