Many of our clients have never pursued a claim for personal injuries before and are unfamiliar with the lengthy, complex legal process. Below is a summary that will help you become familiar with this process so you know what to expect.
Your legal team needs to know the details about your case. We will ask you questions about your case, such as the date of the accident, where it occurred and what injuries you have as a result of the accident.
Your legal team will help with specific and technical details of your case, which may include contacting doctors, hospitals, police officers, witnesses, employers, insurance companies, or other people. You may be asked to answer more questions, consult with a medical professional and/or provide names, phone numbers, addresses or other information. Be sure to reply to your legal team promptly.
The case evaluation phase can take many months or longer. While waiting can be difficult, this important phase reveals the extent and impact of injuries. You can support your case by keeping track of any information asked of you (prescriptions, recording your discomfort, etc.) and by updating your legal team with any changes with your symptoms or situation right away.
A settlement negotiation is when your legal team determines if the insurance company or party being sued is willing to pay a certain amount before the case goes to trial. Once your legal team has all of the information they need, they will send a letter demanding a specific amount. The insurance company may agree, offer a different amount, or refuse our demand. This process may continue to repeat, even as we prepare for trial.
If a settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company, your legal team may then proceed with filing a lawsuit. Even though a lawsuit may be started, settlement is always possible — even just before the case goes to trial.
Once the lawsuit has been filed, the discovery process begins, when both sides gather information about the case through depositions, interrogations, and/or medical exams.
A deposition is when lawyers from both sides can ask for sworn testimony from an individual without going to court or meeting with a judge. It can take place at the lawyer’s office or at another location both parties agree on. The answers are usually recorded to a transcript taken by a court reporter.
Interrogatories are a part of the discovery process that involves a written set of questions sent from one party to another. The answers are provided under oath, which means they must be answered honestly, unless there is a valid objection. The responses are usually used later during the trial.
Mediation is when parties involved in an accident or dispute meet with a neutral mediator to attempt to reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. Although it is not always mandatory, a judge may require mediation before your case proceeds to trial. Some insurance companies may be more willing to settle during mediation when you are represented by a reputable lawyer who has a history of results.
Trial is when both sides of the case present their facts and arguments before a judge and jury so that a fair decision can be made. Even after a lawsuit is filed, most cases are still resolved with a settlement without going to trial — although often just a few days before the trial date.
During the weeks before the trial date, your legal team will prepare you for the courthouse experience and explain everything that you will be doing in advance. Throughout the process, you will continue to have the choice of going to court or settling (although this decision should not be shared with anyone other than your legal team.)
A settlement is when both parties agree to an amount before the trial starts. A trial verdict is how much money the jury awards to your case at the end of the trial.
Depositions, mediation sessions and trials can be intimidating for accident victims. An experienced attorney can be invaluable to prepare you so you know what to expect.
The Arnold Law Firm has been helping accident injury victims for more than four decades. Our experienced attorneys know what it takes to build a strong case against negligent parties and hold them accountable for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Our accomplished attorneys have obtained millions in compensation for injury victims throughout California. Take a look at our testimonials page to see some video reviews from some of our satisfied clients.
Call the Arnold Law Firm at (916) 777-7777 to schedule a free case evaluation or fill out a free online form. There are no upfront costs and no obligation to hire us for legal representation.