Chronology of a Motor Vehicle Accident
Our Legal Group provides a comprehensive, client-focused strategy in motor vehicle injury cases. We believe our clients are best served when they know what to expect when considering personal injury litigation. Whether you contact us or not, we also want you to know what services we believe clients deserve from the law firm they retain to protect their rights.
We know that when you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you want results that will help you put your life back together. At our firm, each member of your team works with you to help you understand your case and achieve the maximum recovery both physically and financially.
MEET YOUR TEAM
Your Trial Attorney
Your trial attorney is one of the first people you will meet. Your trial attorney will evaluate your case to see if it is something we can handle. If we believe our firm can help you, we will ask you to sign a contract retaining our firm as your attorneys. This contract is a contingent fee contract that requires no money from you upfront. Your trial attorney will also determine what the special needs of your case are in terms of medical care, investigation, and legal research.
Your paralegal works with your trial attorney to keep your case on track by obtaining information and investigation updates.
Your Case Manager
Your case manager keeps abreast of your medical and disability status. You can expect your case manager to keep in close contact with you so that he/she can receive regular input and updates on your progress. Your case manager will also assist you in coordinating your medical care including the timing of testing and obtaining referrals to doctors who can assist you in your physical recovery.
Your investigator will use his/her years of experience to ensure that we have a complete understanding of all the factors that contributed to your accident. Your investigator will use site evaluation, interviews, and accident reconstruction techniques in investigating your accident. This thorough investigation enables us to identify all the potential parties (and sources of recovery) available in your case.
Initially, you can expect to meet with your trial attorney who will discuss facts surrounding your accident and explain the legal and medical issues you face.
Recovery and Investigation — 0 to 10 months
While you continue to recover we monitor your progress and investigate your claim. Our firm believes in waiting to settle your claim until you have achieved your best possible physical improvement or maximum medical improvement. In our experience, this usually takes at least one year. We feel that this approach is an important safeguard. It allows all involved to fully understand the nature of your medical problems and the long-term disability or pain issues those medical problems may cause.
Case Evaluation — 10 to 15 months
When you have achieved maximum medical improvement, we will evaluate your case for settlement. This generally happens between 10-15 months after your accident. We will try to settle your case at this point so that we can maximize your recovery by resolving your claim with the least amount of cost and stress. It is our policy to ensure that, before accepting any settlement, our clients understand what they will get from any settlement offer after the fees and costs are deducted. If we cannot get an appropriate offer of settlement from the defendant(s) in your case we will then file a lawsuit in the appropriate state or federal court.
Litigation–10 months to Two Years
If a suit is filed, you will be required to participate in the discovery phase of litigation. Discovery is the process by which each side in a lawsuit tries to “discover” evidence that will be useful at trial. Elements of discovery you will be required to help us complete include:
Interrogatories – these are written questions posed by the defendant. You must provide written answers.
Requests for production of documents – These are written requests for specific categories of documents related to the accident and any subsequent medical treatment or disability. Usual requests seek medical and accident records, records of earnings, and expenses. We will help you assemble the information you need to provide.
Deposition – A deposition is a question and answers session that takes place in the defendant’s attorney’s office. The defendant’s lawyer will ask you questions and you will be required to answer those questions (unless your attorney instructs you not to). You will be sworn in much the same way you will be if you are a witness in a trial and your answers will be recorded by a court reporter. You can expect to meet with your attorney prior to the deposition so that you will understand what to expect.
After discovery has been completed, you will be asked to participate in either arbitration or mediation session. Arbitration and mediation are not binding; rather the goal of these sessions is to have a neutral third party attempt to find the settlement value of your case. You are required to attend the arbitration or mediation session. You can expect the session to take most of a day. In addition, you can expect to spend some time with your attorney preparing for the session.
Adverse Medical Examination
An adverse medical examination (sometimes referred to as an independent medical examination) is a medical examination of you performed by a doctor chosen by the defendant’s attorney. You can expect to spend about half a day on the examination.
The settlement conference takes place at the Court House. You will be required to attend as will the defendants and their attorneys. The settlement conference will often take most of a day.
Trials generally take about one week with pre-trial activities taking a day or two. You will be expected to attend the entire trial and you will most likely be asked to testify. The first part of the trial will revolve around picking the jury and pre-trial motions. After those issues are settled, each side presents witnesses and evidence. During the trial there may be on going settlement discussions. If the case does not settle, the jury will decide the value of your claim. After the jury reaches its verdict, there will usually be some post trial motions including a motion for a new trial and/or a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The verdict may be also be appealed.
Our Legal Group’s dedication to serving our clients begins the moment you contact us. Our goal is to help our clients fully understand all aspects of their case so that each client can achieve the best possible medical and financial result following a serious motor vehicle accident.