When discussing the timeline of their case with a Hardeeville personal injury lawyer, many clients wonder why it has to take months, or even more than a year. The fact is that getting a fair personal injury settlement is not simple and easy.
An attorney will need time to focus on every phase in the settlement process, in order to ensure the best possible outcome. Here are the steps needed before successfully settling a claim.
The Discovery Phase
An experienced lawyer will start by investigating your accident. They will need to collect every available piece of evidence in order to prove that:
- The other person owed you a duty of care.
- They breached their duty and caused the accident.
- You suffered injuries in the accident.
- The injuries resulted in economic damages
These are the four cornerstones of a personal injury claim, and you, as the plaintiff, have the burden of proof. Your attorney needs to look everywhere for supporting evidence:
- Getting the police report (if you were injured in a car accident)
- Talking to eyewitnesses
- Obtaining CCTV camera footage, if your accident happened in an area covered by such a camera
- Hiring expert witnesses to corroborate your version of the events
The Maximum Medical Improvement Phase
Your attorney will have to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)in order to evaluate your economic and non-economic damages. MMI is the moment when no further medical treatment is expected to improve your condition.
At this point, your lawyer will talk to your doctor to find out if:
- You will be left with a disability or impairment
- To what extent the disability will reduce your ability to work and earn wages
- What impact the disability will have on your quality of life
Based on these findings, the lawyer will calculate:
- All your current and future medical care costs, including long-term nursing care and physical or rehabilitation therapy
- Lost current and future wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Cost with assistive devices (prosthetics, wheelchair, walking frame)
- Non-economic damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and mental anguish
The Letter of Demand Phase
With all your damages duly calculated, your Hardeeville personal injury attorney will prepare the letter of demand and send it to the negligent party’s insurance company. The insurer will respond within 30 to 45 days, and more likely will come up with a much lower offer.
They may also ask for supplementary documents to the file, which your attorney will submit as quickly as possible.
The Negotiation Phase
This phase before reaching a personal injury settlement usually is the most critical. Here, a lawyer proves their worth, by using knowledge of the law, negotiation skills, and talent to prove your case.
The result of this phase is usually a settlement agreement that covers the majority of your damages and which your lawyer deems acceptable. But in some cases, insurers believe that they can win a case in court and refuse to settle.
The process may be prolonged by the fact that you will have to sue the negligent party. However, not all personal injury lawsuits reach the court phase – in most cases the insurance company will rethink their position and accept to settle.
An Experienced Hardeeville Personal Injury Lawyer Will Win Your Fair Settlement!
Reaching a fair personal injury settlement takes patience. Otherwise, you will be left with medical care debt and lost wages which you won’t be able to recover once your claim settles. You only have one opportunity to get compensation, so let your Hardeeville personal injury attorney work diligently, in order to obtain the best result.
It is always a good idea to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after your personal injury accident, so call or text us to schedule a free case review at 843-379-7000!