What is the process of a personal injury case? A personal injury case has many steps but the very first step is when someone is injured.
While someone is injured, they’re in what is called the treatment phase of a case. That means you’re getting medical treatment for your injuries, you’re going to the doctor, you’re getting physical therapy, MRIs, injections, chiropractic, massage, whatever the case may be. You’re getting treatment for your injuries.
Once you’re done with your treatment phase, the next step is a lawyer can order all of the medical records related to your case and prepare what’s called a demand package, which is sent out to an insurance company. Now at that point, one of two things happens: Either the insurance company makes a reasonable offer, and we’re able to resolve your case through settlement; or, if the insurance company doesn’t make a reasonable offer, we have to file a lawsuit. And then your case moves into what’s called the litigation phase.
During the litigation phase, there are several steps, including discovery, which is where both sides in the lawsuit exchange information. Discovery can come in many forms, like interrogatories, which are written questions under oath; depositions, which is a semi-formal process where the opposing lawyer gets to ask you questions that are answered under oath in front of a court reporter. Sometimes there are Defense Medical Exams, where the plaintiff — the person who is injured — is forced to be examined by a doctor of the defense lawyer’s choosing, and those are all parts of the discovery process.
Once the discovery process concludes, the case is ready for trial. A trial is just what it sounds like and what you’ve seen on TV — a judge, a jury, the whole deal. Most cases settle short of going all the way to trial. However, some cases, even personal injury cases and simple car accident cases, do go all the way through trial because the two sides simply can’t reach a settlement agreement. And if the two sides can’t reach a settlement agreement, ultimately, the one who gets to decide what a personal injury case is worth is a jury of twelve people on that day.
If you have any more questions about personal injury cases or think that you may have a personal injury case, give us a call at 206-285-1743. Also be sure to check out our many free resources for accident injury victims.