On the ground, the phases of a personal injury claim appear to be quite straightforward: file your claim, try to reach an agreement, and, if necessary, initiate court proceedings. There are, however, defined processes for people seeking to file personal injury claims and a basic timeline to follow to take it further.
If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, you should learn more about the procedure beforehand. Our legal professionals have broken down the process of filing a personal injury claim into stages, so you know what to expect.
Step One #1. Consultation with an attorney
Following an accident, it is critical to speak with an expert personal injuries attorney about the details of your case, such as:
- Whether there was negligence on the part of another party leading to personal injuries
- If there is a defendant from whom compensation can be sought
- The severity and scope of your injuries and how they affect your day to day life
- The costs of your medical care
- Legal options available to you
After appointing a representative, the next step is to follow “pre-action procedures.” Once the third party has been identified, a “letter of claim” will be issued to them, detailing exactly what happened to the claimant and any injuries sustained, as far as they can be evaluated at the time.
A “letter of claim” may be sent directly from the firm/individual, through their lawyers, or through their insurance provider, and the third party has 21 days to respond. Most claims will be forwarded to the defendant’s insurance company, which will most likely handle the personal injuries claim on their behalf. The defendant is given a three-month window to conduct further investigations into the allegations. They must acknowledge whether they accept or deny responsibility at the expiry of this period.
Follow Personal Injuries Assessment Board directives.
If you hire an attorney, they should do a thorough and impartial investigation into your personal injury claims process, including reviewing the available police report, pictures, witness testimony, medical report and bills, your job history and earnings, and more.
Based on the details of your accident and injuries, your attorney may consult with workplace accidents reconstruction and medical experts for concrete medical evidence and other experts across various disciplines. Your lawyer should also look through the opposing party’s probable defenses like the employer liability claims to determine the strength of your claim.
Besides your medical records, your lawyer may also contact witnesses to gather backing statements, during which time they should keep you up to date and respond to your legal queries.
Step #2. Negotiations for out-of-court settlement
Whether liability has been accepted or contested, this is the pre-court stage where a potential settlement can be negotiated. All parties concerned desire a fair and equitable settlement as soon as possible to save money on legal fees and court time.
On the one hand, the claimant would seek counsel from their attorneys, while on the other hand, the defendant would do the same. Instead of meeting across the bargaining table, the claimant and defendant are more likely to have their representatives try to reach an agreement. However, the claimant will have the last say on whether or not any prospective settlement is acceptable or not.
While the vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved without going to court, there are some cases when an agreement cannot be reached at the bargaining stage. It is worth mentioning that filing court papers is limited to three years from the date of the accident or three years from the date of the child’s 18th birthday in the case of a minor.
The foundation of the claim and the amount the claimant is seeking in compensation will be stated in the claim forms submitted and particulars of the claim filed to the court.
Step #3. Filing personal injury claims
If your situation cannot be resolved immediately, your attorney is there to help you file a compensation claim.
Remember, if you have been offered a settlement, do not accept the first offer without consulting with your lawyer. Only you, as a party to the case, have the authority to decide whether or not to accept a settlement. Keep in mind, however, that opposing counsel is required to seek the best deal for their client, which includes offering you the least possible amount in compensation. Is it also a good value for you? That is a difficult subject that should be examined by an experienced attorney.
Contact a local personal injury attorney right away to help you with legal proceedings concerning a settlement offer.
Step #4. Discovery
Before court hearing, the opposing parties collect more evidence from one another, allowing each to assess the scope of the other’s case. It’s not only about the information you’re looking for during the discovery phase; it’s also about how you go about getting it.
Step #5. Trial
Finally, the trial will commence, which would likely span several days in a normal personal injury case. The judge or jury will decide whether the defendant is to blame for the accident and the losses, and if so, how much the defendant must pay in damages. Following the trial, any side might begin an appeals process, which can go for months to years. A losing defendant will be forced to pay the damages awarded at trial or on appeal when the appeals procedure has been concluded.
Step #6. Payment of medical negligence claims compensation
The final stage is to decide how you’ll receive your compensation payout once you’ve accepted an offer or the court has reached a final decision.
When your claim is successful, you’ll get your compensation as a lump sum payment, less any interim payments you’ve previously received. The Court may rule that you receive your compensation in monthly or annual installments known as ‘periodic payments’, especially if your compensation entails long-term care expenditures. The compensation is usually given directly to you or to a trust in your name.
The court could also be forced to direct the money to be put into a designated account in some circumstances instead. This will happen if you are unable to handle your own finances, such as if you have lost mental function due to brain damage. The money will subsequently be used in your best interests to pay for your care and other expenses by specially designated individuals.
Speak to a professional personal injury lawyer today
If you are a victim of injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to fair compensation. However, this can only be made possible through expert litigation from an experienced lawyer. Talk to us today and let us handle the entire process on your behalf. We boast many successful years of legal representation, and we can help you work out fair compensation.