There is more to a personal injury lawsuit than a courtroom trial. A series of pre-litigation stages precede that courtroom event.
The pre-litigation stages
Plaintiffs that hope to win their lawsuit do not skin this stage. It involves seeking immediate medical care, after having been involved in an accident. That process should take less than a day, unless the victim has suffered a catastrophic injury.
By visiting a doctor, a hospital or a clinic, a potential claimant can obtain proof of an injury’s existence. Smart claimants take their time, while completing the next stage. Once a medical record has the ability to provide proof of a claimant’s injuries, the time has arrived for consulting with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ottawa. The potential client should take his or her time, when seeking answers to the most important questions.
Here are some of the questions that a prospective client might ask:
–Who will be handling my case?
–What is the fee?
–Who must pay the costs?
–Do you have much experience with arguing a case in court?
During the next of the stages, the hired lawyer investigates the client’s claim.
This is also to the time for the gathering of evidence. Once the investigation is complete, the plaintiff and lawyer must wait for an announcement from the doctor, saying that the client/claimant has arrived at the point of MMI (maximum medical improvement).
How long should it take for a claimant to reach MMI? The length of that waiting period depends on the severity of the client’s injury.
Once a lawyer’s client has arrived at the point of MMI, then that same lawyer ought to help with creation of a demand letter. Once that letter has been sent to the insurance adjuster, then the attorney-client team must wait for the adjuster’s first offer. The presentation of that bid/offer serves as the start of negotiations.
Ideally, the adjuster manages to make an initial offer in less than a week. The length of the negotiations depends on how smoothly things go at the negotiation table. If that process were to stall, then all concerned parties would need to prepare for the next litigation stages.
The stage that would follow any stalled negotiations would be one in which the formal litigation procedures could take place. The first of those procedures is a discovery phase. That is when the 2 opposing sides exchange their evidence. The discovery phase can last up to 6 months.
A trial might follow the discovery session, if no settlement had been reached. During the trial, each lawyer argues the client’s case. Then, after a series of days, the jury or judge rules in favor of one of the opposing parties.