Post-Accident Checklist For Personal Injury Cases
When you get into an accident, it can sometimes get overwhelming. You start to confuse your priorities, and that confusion might lead to financial, emotional, and legal problems in the future. In this post, we'll talk about everything a plaintiff should do after an accident—from immediately after the incident to getting the proper compensation they need.
1. Getting Medical Help
The most crucial thing you can do after an accident is to get medical attention right away. If you, unfortunately, get into a car crash in California, the best thing to do would be to dial 911 and get emergency treatment as soon as you can. Additionally, some injuries aren't immediately apparent—like bruising, concussions, and small fractures—so don't go home without getting checked.
You'll not only get a quick diagnosis and treatment for your injuries, but you'll also have a record of when and how they happened. These medical records can come in handy if you ever need to file a Personal Injury Claim for your losses.
2. Hiring A California Personal Injury Lawyer
You can start finding a Personal Injury Lawyer in California while you are seeking treatment for your injuries. A good attorney can help you fight for your rights and advise you on how to proceed with a claim.
Personal injury cases in California have a two-year statute of limitations. This implies you have two years to launch a lawsuit from the date of your car accident. As a result, it's critical to contact an expert personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible following your accident.
Keep track of your medical bills at all times during this period. Your lawyer will combine them with additional evidence, such as lost wages and information about diminished earning capacity, to draft a full list of demands for compensation.
When you hire a California Personal Injury Attorney, they can conduct an investigation into your accident. This could include:
Gathering and reviewing police reports
Compiling medical records
Other evidence, depending on the specifics of your case.
Your lawyer might even get a private investigator to find more witnesses or evidence, such as surveillance videos.
Your lawyer will begin conducting legal research on your case at the same time. This will help make the strongest case possible against the defendant and their insurance provider.
4. Demand Letter and Settlements
Your California Personal Injury Attorney will write a demand letter to the at-fault's insurance provider. A demand letter explains the facts of the issue, the legal reason why their insured is at fault, and demands a reimbursement claim. The insurance company will almost certainly react with a settlement offer of its own, which usually starts the negotiation process.
The great majority of personal injury claims are resolved without the need for a trial. The insurance firm will be more motivated to make settlements on your insurance claim if they know your attorney is ready, willing, and able to take the matter to trial if they don't offer a fair settlement.
5. Filing A Lawsuit
In rare cases, the insurance company will refuse to pay you a reasonable settlement for your injuries. When the insurance questions the severity of your injuries or when liability for the accident is questioned, this can happen.
The filing of the lawsuit is the start of the actual personal injury claim timeline. The first two things will happen:
Your lawyer has a specific period of time (30 to 60 days) to serve the defendant after this occurs.
The defendant has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit after being served with it.
Following the filing of a lawsuit, the timing is determined in part by court deadlines. These rules will be explained to you by your California Personal Injury Lawyer.
The parties then proceed to discovery, which is a phase of a legal action in which each side seeks information about the case from the other. There are a variety of ways to discover something, including:
Written inquiries that the opposing party must respond to
Written declarations that the other side must accept or reject
Under-oath questions asked to a witness in the case
The insurance company may want you to undergo an examination with a doctor of their choice
Depending on the issues at stake in your case and the number of witnesses involved, the discovery process can take a long time.
Your attorney may confer with specialists to bolster your case at this time, which is referred to as the pre-trial phase of litigation. If culpability is challenged, your attorney may engage an accident reconstruction expert to argue that you were not at blame.
Negotiations are frequently ongoing during the pre-trial process. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the court in charge of the case may mandate mediation, which is a kind of alternative conflict resolution.
A neutral third party (usually a retired judge or an experienced lawyer) evaluates the case and hears both sides' arguments during mediation. The mediator then seeks to assist the parties in reaching an agreement over the accident. Mediation usually takes place nine to eighteen months after a lawsuit has been filed.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case will be tried. The number of witnesses and the intricacy of the topics under dispute determine the length of the trial. It could last anywhere from one to two days to two months.
During the trial, your California Personal Injury Lawyer will make an opening statement, followed by the defense. After that, you'll have the chance to present evidence and summon witnesses. On direct examination, your attorney will ask questions, followed by cross-examination by the defendant's lawyer.
The defendant will next have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses. Any defense witnesses will be able to be cross-examined by your lawyer. Finally, each party will make a closing argument, in which they will request that the judge or jury rule in their favor.
If the case is going to a jury, the judge will read the jury instructions about the law that governs the case. After that, the jury will discuss and reach a decision. In some cases, you may be able to appeal the decision if the conclusion is not favorable.
Finally, if you win at trial or achieve a settlement through mediation, your payout will be paid to you. This normally occurs within 30 days of a decision or settlement.