The Timeline of a Personal Injury Case According to a Personal Injury Lawyer in LexingtonMost people are lucky enough to go through their life without being involved in a personal injury case. For those who are injured because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be a traumatic, overwhelming time. Unless you are a lawyer or have recently been involved in an accident, you may have never thought about the timeline of a personal injury case.

It’s always best to speak with an attorney about the specifics of your case. However, we’ve created a general timeline for most personal injury cases in Lexington, KY.

Initial First Steps

The first steps in your personal injury case will depend on the type of accident that you experience. Some of the most common types of accidents include:

In many cases, the accident will happen in an instant, leaving the victim with no time to react. Others are based on an injury that happens over time, such as exposure to toxic chemicals.

Seek Medical Treatment

You should always seek medical treatment immediately after getting into an accident or discovering an injury. This is important for your physical health as well as for your personal injury case.

When you get medical help, the doctors will keep records and detailed notes. These records may be used to support your personal injury claim with insurance or during the trial.

It’s very difficult to prove an injury if you don’t get medical help. If you delay getting medical treatment, you will risk the defendant arguing that your injuries would not be as severe had you sought prompt medical attention. As a result, they may be able to reduce liability for your claim.

Collect Evidence

Usually, the best evidence exists close in time to the accident. After that, it begins to deteriorate or get lost.

Imagine that you are involved in a car crash. If it is safe to do so, you may want to take photographs of the damaged cars, your injuries, and the scene of the accident. You might also interview witnesses and get their contact information.

However, in some personal injury cases, the evidence will be different. For example, in a product liability case, the evidence might be records from the manufacturer or the product itself.

If you can, collect as much evidence as possible, even if you aren’t sure it will be useful. You can also write down a narrative of what happened so that you don’t forget the details as the case goes on.

Hire a Lawyer

One of your first steps should always be to hire a lawyer. A Lexington personal injury lawyer can help you from the moment of your accident or injury.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is a low-stakes proposition. Most work for a contingency fee, which means you don’t pay them attorney’s fees unless they win compensation for your case. You also don’t have to pay them anything upfront.

Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to review your case; the sooner you reach out, the better. You’ll get the benefit of a lawyer to handle the legal case from the beginning. This will help you build a stronger case and give you time to heal and focus on recovery.

Secondary Steps

After you take the initial steps in a personal injury case, you will want to think about the next steps. Hopefully, you will have a lawyer to help you by this point in the case.

Investigate the Accident

Even though you have taken the time to collect some evidence, there is still more to be obtained. Your lawyer will investigate the cause of the accident and find out who is responsible. This will be the defendant, or defendants, in your case.

The investigation may include combing through records, interviewing witnesses, or even hiring an expert to reconstruct an accident or give an opinion. All of this can be used during settlement negotiations with the opposing party.

Calculate Your Damages

Your damages are made up of your economic losses and non-economic losses. In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Damages include, but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity 
  • Mental anguish

You must know the value of your case before you file an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you don’t, you’ll risk settling for less than you deserve.

File an Insurance Claim

In many Lexington personal injury cases, you’ll start with filing an insurance claim before a lawsuit. This will involve speaking with an insurance adjustor and providing evidence. The insurance company will decide whether to accept, deny, or partially accept your claim.

Negotiate With Insurance

If the insurance company partially accepts your claim, they might make an offer to settle for less than your full damages. You have the opportunity to negotiate with insurance and try to get the amount that you deserve. It’s helpful to have a lawyer who can stand up to the insurance company on your behalf.

Final Steps

Matthew Minner, a Lexington, KY personal injury attorneyIf you aren’t able to settle with the insurance company, or if insurance doesn’t apply in your case, then you will need to move on to the next set of steps. You may be frustrated that your case is dragging on, but sometimes it’s the best option to get justice.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit in the Fayette Circuit Court in Lexington. This will consist of a formal complaint identifying the defendant, your damages, and the basis for recovery. The defendant will have an opportunity to answer your complaint, either accepting or denying liability.

There is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. In most Lexington personal injury cases, the deadline is one year. If you miss this deadline, your case will be dismissed.

Complete the Discovery Phase

Assuming the defendant doesn’t accept liability, you will go through discovery. Discovery includes depositions, interrogatories, and both sides turning over certain evidence. It’s common for negotiations to happen during this phase once the defendant sees all of the evidence against them.

Discovery can take a significant amount of time to complete. It all depends on the complexity of the case.

Go to Trial

If you can’t settle during discovery, the case will go to trial. During the trial, your lawyer will question witnesses, admit evidence, and argue on your behalf. In simple cases, the trial may be a day or two. In complicated cases, it could be scheduled for longer.

Set Up a Free Case Review With a Lexington Personal Injury Attorney

As you can see, the timeline of your Lexington personal injury case can vary greatly. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to contact a Lexington personal injury lawyer for advice.