What the Typical Personal Injury Timeline Looks Like
If you’re familiar with the city of Orlando, there’s much more to it than delicious dining, theme parks, and a hotbed of family-fun activities. Driving along I-4 is a spider web of confusing exits worsened by ongoing construction. Not to mention, the city experiences a spike of visitors from mid-December through early January, when many Florida schools are on winter break, and the weather is cool enough to spend hours waiting in line for It’s a Small World.
Orlando in winter brews a mean recipe for dangerous road conditions, and that makes it easier to get into a nasty crash. In Florida, 374,342 accidents led to 2,939 deaths in 2015, and people suffered 243,316 nonfatal injuries. In Orange County, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles counted 28,130 crashes in 2015, leading to 142 deaths and 19,747 injuries.
Primary Markers on a Personal Injury Timeline
A serious car accident can set you back physically, financially, and emotionally. If you were hurt recently, you can count on a personal injury lawyer to guide you through the claims process.
The time which immediately follows your crash is critical to the success of your personal injury case. What you do following an accident will impact the outcome of your claim. Typically, a personal injury timeline looks like this:
PLAINTIFF SEEKS MEDICAL CARE
The first significant milestone in a personal injury case comes to fruition when the injured party (the “plaintiff”) seeks medical care. If you’ve sustained an injury in an accident, you’ll want to start a record of your condition and the care you needed to treat it. A medical record of the injury will validate it. If you wait too long to seek medical care, the liable party and court might assume you weren’t hurt seriously enough and may downplay your claim or succeed in providing you with a lower settlement offer.
PLAINTIFF SEEKS LEGAL REPRESENTATION
Getting an Orlando-based personal injury attorney involved early on can significantly strengthen your case, which could lead to a heftier financial award. If you spent more than a day in the hospital, missed time from work, and/or suffered other losses because of the accident, you’ll want a lawyer to pursue compensation on your behalf, which will involve negotiating with your or the liable party’s insurance company. Attorneys also need time to gather the facts about your accident so they can prove the value of your claim.
If you’re out a few thousand dollars or more because of medical bills, missed days at work, or other effects of the crash, you’ll want to attain legal representation as soon as possible. Finding just the right lawyer is the key to an effective strategy for recovering your losses, and this may take several days or weeks. The sooner you begin to research lawyers near you, the smoother your journey will be.
ATTORNEY INVESTIGATES CLAIM AND MEDICAL RECORDS
Once you’ve selected an attorney and signed their pay agreement, he or she may begin investigating the facts of your crash and obtaining and reviewing all crash-related medical records. Your lawyer will likely interview you extensively to learn:
- The circumstances that led to your accident
- Who was involved in your accident
- Your medical condition and treatment
Don’t withhold information from your attorney that he may need to pursue damages on your behalf. If anything important is left out, it could hurt your chances of receiving a fair settlement.
It may take several weeks to months for your lawyer to gather all your medical bills and records of treatment, and put together a solid argument for compensation. Still, this is usually favorable to accepting the liable party’s first offer, which will almost certainly be too low to make a dent in your debt.
ATTORNEY NEGOTIATES WITH THE LIABLE PARTY
One big reason you’ll want an attorney on your side when recovering from an injury is that he or she will take on the tedious task of communicating with the liable party. Whether that’s your or the other driver’s insurance company depends on how much insurance coverage you have vs. what you need to pay for all accident-related expenses.
Attorneys with The Umansky Law Firm have decades of experience negotiating successfully with insurance companies based in all parts of the country. Our goal is to reach a reasonable agreement for a fair settlement while you focus on healing.
Unfortunately, initial negotiations don’t always work out. Most personal injury cases do avoid trial, but for the few of them that do make it, there are many further steps to anticipate before the case is resolved.
ATTORNEY FILES LAWSUIT ON PLAINTIFF’S BEHALF
A personal injury lawsuit can take months to years to reach trial because of pretrial procedures. When your attorney files a lawsuit, it’s because negotiations were unsuccessful and he believes you have a better chance of a fair outcome by involving the court.
Discovery is the process by which each party investigates the opposing party’s legal claims and defenses. They then send each other interrogatories and document requests, then take depositions of all relevant witnesses beginning with the plaintiff (you) and the defendant (the at-fault party). Discovery may last 6 months to one year.
MEDIATION AND NEGOTIATION AFTER A LAWSUIT IS FILED
After discovery, attorneys for both parties attempt to discuss and settle the case out of court to avoid the expense and unpredictable nature of a trial. This step may last anywhere from one day to one or more weeks. When one-on-one negotiations between lawyers fail, they may enter mediation. Mediation allows both parties and their lawyers to attempt to settle the case in front of a mediator. When this fails, the case goes to trial.
CASE GOES TO TRIAL WHEN NO AGREEMENT IS REACHED
Finally, a case goes to trial when all other options for reaching an agreement have been exhausted to no avail. A trial can last one day to several weeks depending on the state in which the trial is held. If you receive a notice of an impending trial, keep in mind that it may be rescheduled at any time. It’s not uncommon for trials to be delayed.
Orlando Injury Attorneys Provide Quality Representation
When you need competent personal injury representation in Orlando or a nearby community, you can count on The Umansky Law Firm to thoroughly investigate your car crash or other accident to uncover the truth. Our priority is for you to heal and we strive to get you every penny you deserve by law to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering after an Orlando accident.
Our team of accident lawyers has more than 100 years of combined experience pursuing vehicle accident claims. Members of our firm have been repeatedly selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as Super Lawyers and participate in a number of legal organizations, including the Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association. You can trust our firm to focus on your needs and guide you to a better state.
For personal injury assistance at any time of day or night, call our office or complete our contact form.