If you have suffered an injury and are considering pursuing a claim, you probably have no idea what to expect during the process or how long it might take. Some claims are resolved relatively quickly, while others can stretch out for months and even years. In today’s blog, we try to provide a basic timeline of events during your personal or work injury case so you can know what to expect if you’re starting an injury claim.
Personal Injury Case Timeline
Here’s a broad overview of what you can expect as you move forward with an injury claim.
1. Injury/Injury Report – The injury is the first event in the timeline of a personal injury claim. If you suffer an injury at work, report it to your supervisor so they can file an injury report. If your injuries require immediate care, skip to step two and circle back to filing a report with your employer or the police until the medical emergency is resolved.
2. Get Medical Care – Head to a doctor’s office to be evaluated and treated. You have the right to be treated by a physician of your choosing, so don’t assume you have to go to a specific doctor chosen by your employer. Let your doctor know that you are considering filing a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim so they can fully assess how your injuries could impact your claim.
3. Contact a Lawyer – Next, you’re going to want professional legal help on your side. Visit some prospective injury lawyers to see if they would be a good fit for your case. They only get paid a small percentage of your winnings, so they will work hard to get you the biggest payday possible, because that means a larger award for themselves. Your interests are aligned, and because it’s a complicated process, you’ll want a reliable professional in your corner.
4. Investigation – Your lawyer and the other parties involved will begin to investigate the accident. Let your lawyer handle evidence collection, witness statements and other aspects of the case so they can build a strong claim. You may be contacted by an insurance adjuster to tell your side of the story, but make sure you and your lawyer talk about how to best handle these conversations so as not to tank your own case.
5. File a Claim – Your lawyer has been working tirelessly to put together a strong claim, and now is the time to officially file the claim. Your lawyer will ensure all forms are complete and deadlines are met.
6. Ruling – You may find out that your claim award has been granted and you will be set to receive compensation based on a certain schedule moving forward. This is the ideal option, but it’s not always the case. If you get a denial, you have to keep moving down the timeline.
7. Appeal/Lawsuit – If your claim is denied, or you don’t agree with an aspect of the ruling, your injury lawyer will file the paperwork to bring your case in front of a judge.
8. Discovery – During the discovery stage, both sides provide each other with all the information they have on the case, including witness lists and evidence that will be presented at trial. Your lawyer may choose to interview some witnesses on the list provided by the other side prior to trial.
9. Dispute Resolution – Both sides are advised to try to reach an agreement before going to trial. Sides will meet and see if they can reach a settlement that is considered reasonable by both sides. Your lawyer can work with you to understand your desires and what you hope to get out of a resolution so that they can push for your wishes during settlement talks.
10. Trial and Final Order – If a settlement can’t be reached, the case goes to trial. Either a judge or jury will hear the case and declare a final ruling. You may choose to appeal this final ruling, but for many claimants, this is the end of the road for their injury claim.
For more information, or for help with any aspect of your injury case, reach out to Hey Workers today.