RMD Law Presents

Timeline of a Personal Injury Case

Getting into a car accident is a traumatizing experience. It can cloud your judgment and cause you to panic. After the initial shock subsides, most of our injured clients have questions like “how long does a personal injury case take” and “what is the next step in my case?”

ACCIDENT

When you have been involved in a car accident, first ensure that you and everyone else inside your vehicle are safe. If you can move, step out of the car carefully and scan your body for any injury. Do the same for everyone else with you.

When you have been involved in a car accident, first ensure that you and everyone else inside your vehicle are safe. If you can move, step out of the car carefully and scan your body for any injury. Do the same for everyone else with you.

Let’s Talk

AMBULANCE & POLICE

If you or other people involved in the accident have any injuries, seek medical assistance immediately. Not only is this an effective way of looking out for your health and safety, but it also shows investigators that the incident is serious.

Let’s Talk

CALL THE POLICE – Notifying the police of the incident can help you document your case properly. Once they have been called, remain at the site and cooperate with them on the steps they ask you to take. Inform them of any injuries you or others may have sustained from the accident and any other related issues. In some instances, the police will not respond unless there are injuries. As such, clearly explain that you or your passengers are hurt when requesting police assistance.

HOSPITAL

Major injuries sustained during the accident, such as large cuts, broken bones, or brain injury, may require hospitalization. Go to the hospital to get a proper diagnosis of your condition and treatment before it worsens.

Read More

RMD LAW

Once you have undergone initial treatment, reach out to a personal injury attorney immediately. Many people first consult their insurance company. This is a big mistake because insurers always want to minimize the value paid, and you may say the wrong thing. Reach out to a lawyer right away and let a professional handle the discussions.

Let’s Talk

Also, your medical records will serve as proof of your injuries, which will be beneficial to your personal injury claim later on.

CAR FIXED

After hiring a personal injury lawyer, the next step is to have your car fixed or to have it declared a total loss and collected by the insurance company in exchange for a check. Commonly, the insurance company that represents the defendant responsible for your accident will pay for the vehicle.

Let’s Talk

The insurance provider may ask for photos of your car’s current condition when assessing your claim, and you will need to take your vehicle to a body shop for an estimate. RMD Law can assist you with the property damage, and we do not charge a fee for the assessment as a courtesy to our clients.

TREATMENT

Be sure to continue any treatment recommended by your doctors. Keep the bills and records of your subsequent treatments, as you’ll need them to support your claim. If you have hired a lawyer, they will handle all requests for records and bills and keep track of everything for you.

Let’s Talk

Once the at-fault driver’s insurance company agrees to accept liability for the accident, you will need to submit your medical bills to them. Note that if your injuries are pre-existing conditions, the insurer is not responsible for covering them.

GET RECORDS

Once your treatment is complete, your attorney will gather all records relevant to your claim, including accident photos and police, medical, and witness reports. Your lawyer will need this information to proceed with the next phases of the case.

Let’s Talk

DEMAND

Your attorney will now draft a demand letter informing the liable party that you are pursuing compensation for your injuries. The liable party can be the negligent driver or even your insurance provider via uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Let’s Talk

A demand typically covers compensation for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and damage to property, among others. Note that if you pursue your own insurance claim, your insurance rate will not increase unless you are more than 50% at fault for the loss.

PRELITIGATION

LITIGATION

All demands are sent with a deadline, which is typically 30 days or less. If the insurance company responsible makes an offer, your attorney will negotiate a settlement amount on your behalf.

If both parties agree to the settlement amount, the next steps through Client Distribution and Settlement will tell you what happens next. If an agreement is not reached at this stage, a lawsuit must be filed or arbitration demanded, and the case skips to the Litigation phase.

The discovery process involves both sides getting relevant facts from the other party. This is a very important stage, where evidence (such as videos) the defense may have held back will finally be disclosed to you and your attorney.

During this stage, your attorney will send interrogatories (these are simply written questions the other party must answer under oath). Your lawyer will also request pertinent documents from the opposing party, including medical records, police reports, and photos of the accident site.

In this phase, you will sign a settlement release, the defense will mail a check to your lawyer, and your attorney will deposit the money in an Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) account. This is where a law firm keeps the client’s money pending the final resolution of the case.

This type of account is limited to approved financial institutions, and the law firm does not earn interest over time.

A deposition is one of the methods of discovery. Here, your lawyer will request the opposing party to attend a recorded question-and-answer session. The information from the deposition will be used to strengthen your case, and the video recording can be presented as evidence during the trial.

Similarly, you will be deposed by the other party’s lawyer for your version of the events. With RMD Law, our attorneys will be with you every step of the way, and you will meet with us before the deposition, so you know what to expect beforehand.

If you experience significant financial losses from the accident, you may have liens on the case from government agencies, hospitals, health insurers, and others. These liens represent a legal right of repayment to those parties, which must be paid back out of your settlement.

By law, a lien must be paid in full before you can get a portion of your compensation. Pursuant to California law, your attorney can often negotiate with the lienholders. This way, you can secure a bigger take-home settlement.

Mediation is a process where you and the opposing party choose a neutral third party to help resolve the claim without the need for trial. Mediation can happen anytime. However, it is usually most effective once the discovery and deposition phases are complete.

The mediator will act as a facilitator, helping both sides understand each other’s interests. If the mediation is successful, the case ends with a settlement.

This is the stage where the firm advises you how much exactly you will receive after attorney’s fees, costs, liens, and anything else that needs to be paid from the settlement amount have been deducted. You will review a written breakdown of the expenses and proceeds and sign to concur.

Then, you will get a check in the mail as compensation for the injuries you sustained from the accident. As mentioned, if the settlement went nowhere in the pre-litigation stage, litigation could follow. Once a litigated case settles, the three phases discussed above must still be completed.

If mediation efforts are unsuccessful and discovery is complete, the next thing your attorney needs to do is get ready for the trial (or arbitration if the case is against your own insurance company). Here, you will need to prepare for trial questioning.

Your attorney must find a way to present your propositions credibly and convincingly to win a favorable decision from the jury or arbitrator. Your lawyer will also need to orient other key witnesses and prepare them for questioning.

This is the stage where the firm advises you how much exactly you will receive after attorney’s fees, costs, liens, and anything else that needs to be paid from the settlement amount have been deducted. You will review a written breakdown of the expenses and proceeds and sign to concur.

Then, you will get a check in the mail as compensation for the injuries you sustained from the accident. As mentioned, if the settlement went nowhere in the pre-litigation stage, litigation could follow. Once a litigated case settles, the three phases discussed above must still be completed.

During the court trial, your attorney will present the facts of the case before the judge and jury. Your witnesses will also testify about what they know or saw regarding the accident.

The opposing party’s counsel will argue against your claims and present their witnesses, which will help the jury decide whether the defendant is truly guilty or not. After the presentation of the witnesses and other pieces of evidence, the jury will decide on the defendant’s guilt.

$50

Million

Recently Recovered

RMD Law has recovered over $50 million dollars for our clients who have been injured in accidents. We can help you get the maximum settlement you deserve after an accident.

Free Consultation

We hope our step-by-step walkthrough has helped show you what to expect after an accident. Every case is different, but they all have one thing in common: For top value, you must speak with a personal injury lawyer to explore your options immediately. If you need an Irvine injury attorney or a personal injury attorney in California, RMD Law is ready for the tireless representation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation!