If you’ve been hurt in an accident or due to someone else’s negligence, you’re probably focusing on getting your settlement as quickly as possible.
Well, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that most personal injury cases do not go to trial but are settled beforehand. The bad news is that getting the settlement you deserve still takes time.
How long do you have to wait to get a fair personal injury settlement? What’s the timeline of a case? Let’s take a look.
Step 1: Get Medical Treatment
The first step in any personal injury case is to get the treatment you need. If your injuries are minor, this will be a fairly quick process. However, if you’ve been hurt badly, it may take more time.
It’s important to document every dollar spent on medical care, including time off work and transportation to the doctor or hospital. All of these are part of your injury claim.
If you don’t get medical treatment, the other party will be able to claim that you weren’t hurt or that any injuries you have were due to a different incident, not the injury claim itself.
Step 2: Work With an Injury Attorney
While you might be tempted to work with the insurance company directly to settle your claim, this is generally a bad idea. Insurance companies are focused on minimizing their financial exposure and loss, so they aren’t likely to offer you fair compensation.
Instead, you’ll want to work with an injury attorney who can help you total all of your costs, including pain and suffering, and move forward with a settlement demand.
If you’re significantly injured, it’s imperative to work with an attorney.
Step 3: Prepare Your Case
An injury settlement isn’t as simple as telling the other party’s insurance how much you want. You have to prove all of your losses as part of your settlement demand.
Your lawyer will be integral in this process. They will gather evidence from you, witnesses to the incident, and the police report. Answer these questions thoroughly, so there are no surprises in the case. You’ll need to provide medical records for your injuries and the bills associated with them.
Step 4: Ask For Settlement
If your injury attorney is confident they can settle your case without going to court, they will make a settlement demand to the other party’s lawyer or insurance company. This is usually followed by a period of negotiation between the two sides.
Generally, the settlement demand and negotiation don’t happen until you’ve reached the maximum medical improvement that can be expected. Before that, you don’t know what your real costs are and might underestimate your demand.
If your injuries aren’t severe, your case will likely be settled quickly. However, if you are permanently injured or disabled, your lawyer may choose to go to court instead of settling the case.
If the settlement process doesn’t work, your lawyer will file a case and you’ll go to court.
Do You Need Personal Injury Representation?
If you’ve been injured, working with a qualified injury attorney is essential. It’s the only way to protect your rights and ensure all of your losses are considered in any personal injury settlement.
If you’re wondering about a case, contact us for a consultation today!