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Aug 06, 2019 | Personal Injury

The Personal Injury Process: A Brief Timeline

The Personal Injury Process: A Brief Timeline Banner

Most people who call my office have never been involved in a personal injury claim before. As such, many are unaware of the often-complex process involved. At the outset of a case, I like to walk my clients through the entire case, so they have an idea where we are headed.

Medical Treatment

In serious injury claims, the number one priority is ensuring the client receives proper medical treatment and evaluation. It is important to hire a law firm that will focus on identifying every medical condition caused by the accident. Beyond this, it is crucial that the client receives through treatment prior to settlement. It is imperative that your lawyer does not settle a case prior to identifying all major ailments, because once you settle, there is no other opportunity to come back and ask for compensation later.  As you receive medical treatment, your lawyer should stay on top of obtaining all medical records and billing related to the accident.

Initial Investigation

As you are getting treatment for your injuries, your lawyer should be contacting witnesses, gathering evidence such as photos and video of the incident, talking to your loved ones about the ways the injury is impacting your life and locking down liability against the person or entity that injured you.

Demand for Settlement

Ordinarily, once the client completes all treatment related to the incident, the attorney submits a settlement demand package to the insurance company who represents the person or entity who injured you. This process involves compiling all necessary evidence, including photos, video and medical records. If the insurance company offers fair value for the claim, including compensation for all medical treatment as well as compensation for your pain and suffering, your case is finished, and you move on with your life.

Litigation

However, as is the case in most serious personal injury claims, insurance companies do not offer fair value for your injuries.  For this reason, it is important to hire a lawyer who understands the value of your case and who will refuse to settle until you are justly compensated. If the insurance company refuses to treat you fairly, the next step is usually to file a lawsuit.

Once a lawsuit is filed, your attorney should work vigorously to show the insurance company you are not going to go away until you receive fair compensation. Your attorney should begin taking depositions, including the depositions of the person or entity that injured you. He or she should send discovery requests to the defendant seeking all relevant evidence and your attorney should begin preparing for a battle against the behemoth insurance company and their lawyers.

During this time, you will often be deposed by the insurance company attorneys and oftentimes you will be required to submit to a medical examination by a doctor who is hired by the insurance company.

At this time, your attorney should also be looking down the road and preparing the case as though it will be submitted to a jury at trial.  Although it is likely the case will settle well in advance of trial, it is extremely important that your lawyer begins to prepare early on so he or she is fully prepared if and when trial comes.

Mediation

After engaging in the litigation process and conducting discovery. Your attorney will often attempt to mediate the case prior to trial. When this happens, your attorney prepares a mediation brief, laying out all of the evidence, and submits it to a neutral mediator who will work to get both sides to settle the case.

Mediation is often very successful at resolving the case, and if the defendant agrees to settle for fair value at mediation, the case is resolved.

Trial

If the defendant still refuses to offer you the fair value for your claim, the case will then proceed to trial. At this point, your attorney will need to hire expert witnesses on your behalf and prepare a solid trial strategy that will make it clear to a jury that you are entitled to maximum compensation for your injuries.

Getting to trial in Southern California, whether you are in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Diego or San Bernardino County Superior Court or the United States Federal Court in these districts often takes two years from the time of the initial injury. This may seem like a daunting undertaking, but it is a fight and a journey you must be willing to undertake in order to achieve full justice and maximum compensation.

Selecting the Right Attorney

For this reason, I always advise potential clients to choose their lawyer carefully. Before hiring a lawyer, you must feel comfortable potentially spending a long period of time in each other’s lives. At the outset, try to get a feel whether the attorney will go the distance, all the way or trial. Find out whether they will do all the hard work to gather the evidence and stay on top of your medical treatment. Get a feel whether this person understands you, your culture, your background and your individual needs. Communication and compassion are key–your lawyer must believe in you and your case in order to achieve a successful outcome.

When deciding to represent any client involved in a serious injury, the Law Office of Craig Charles makes a commitment to give the client 100% from beginning to end, fighting for the client at every turn and keeping the client informed every step of the way.

My office is located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood as well as the Hillcrest area of San Diego. I am an LGBTQ affirming attorney and I understand the specific needs of clients who do not feel comfortable with big mill law firms. In short, at the Law Office of Craig Charles, you are not a number—you are a very unique individual who deserves personalized attention.

If you have been injured in a serious accident, or if you are the victim of serious discrimination, give the Law Office of Craig Charles a call today at 424-343-0660. The Law Office of Craig Charles is located at 9000 Sunset Blvd., Suite 710, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

Consult with us to evaluate your case

If you've been seriously injured, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We understand this process may be unfamiliar or confusing, so we make a personal commitment to communicate with you in a clear and timely fashion. Call us today and we'll evaluate your case, walk you through the process — and put you on the path to recovery.