Every personal injury claim is as unique as the people involved and the specific facts of the case — but most claims follow a fairly predictable pattern.
If you’ve been injured in a serious accident, understanding what comes next can help quell your fears and give you some perspective on the challenges ahead.
Most personal injury claims follow a specific pattern
While there are always exceptions, here are the stages you can generally expect your injury claim to follow:
- You consult an attorney. The sooner you speak with an advocate, the better, so you’re probably still going to be healing when you first meet with your attorney. That’s okay.
- There’s an initial investigation process. Generally, your attorney will start collecting the most readily available evidence, like your medical records and the accident report.
- You make maximum medical recovery. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve fully recovered. In fact, if your injuries are severe, you may never fully recover. This means that you reach the point where you’ve either recovered or it’s possible to see exactly how permanent your injuries will be and what that means for your life.
- Settlement negotiations begin. If your injuries were serious, the insurance company may be eager to settle, so your attorney will try to get you fair compensation without resorting to litigation.
- Attempts to settle may succeed or fail. If negotiations are successful, you’ll be able to avoid trial. But maybe the insurance company won’t make an offer — or won’t make one that’s even close to reasonable. If that happens you will probably be obliged to litigate.
The vast majority of personal injury cases will settle before they go to trial — and negotiations can continue even after a formal lawsuit is filed.
So, what does all this mean? It means that you cannot expect a personal injury claim to settle quickly. You can’t even really begin to negotiate with the insurance company involved until you’ve started to recover.
When you’ve been injured, seek guidance
When you’ve been seriously hurt by someone else’s negligence, your primary job is to get medical help and try to heal. Your attorney can handle the rest.