If you have been injured due to the negligence of another party and plan to or have already filed a personal injury claim, here are a few things you will need to know about the process of your personal injury case. Although no two personal injury cases will ever be the same, and there is no single way to handle all personal injury cases, most Utah personal injury cases will follow this timeline:
Phase 1: Injury Occurs & Attorney is Hired
Following your accident, you will want to research and hire a personal injury attorney who has experience with the specifics of your accident. For example, if you were injured in a car crash, you want to hire an attorney who knows how to handle a car crash case, and injuries related to car crashes.
Not all attorneys are equal and you can learn more about questions to ask them here >
Phase 2: Claim is Filed
This is the start of your case. Setting up a claim with the insurance company, getting the claim numbers, and providing those to medical providers are just some of the things we can help with.
Phase 3: Treatment Phase
Depending on the severity of the injuries sustained in the accident and how long it takes to heal, this phase could last for a short period of time or span over an extended period of months or years. If your injuries are permanent or require lifelong maintenance., then treatment may never be considered complete. These are all things that we take into consideration when we work with you on your personal injury case so we can ensure your future care and recovery are taken care of.
Phase 4: Demand Phase
During this period of time, we request records and gather information and evidence to support your claim. This can include but is not limited to medical documentation, police reports of the accidents, and evidence of lost wages. Once we have received all documentation we feel is needed, we package it together and then draft and send a demand letter to the insurance company.
Phase 5: Negotiation Phase
Once the demand has been sent to the insurance company, the case moves into negotiations. During this period of time, our team is waiting for the insurance company to evaluate the evidence and come back with an offer. We typically get responses back within 30 days.
Depending on the case, you may be asked to attend a medical appointment with their provider to have your injuries further assessed. One of two things will happen at the end of the negotiation phase. An offer is made that both parties agree to and the case moves into the disbursement phase or, what the insurance company offers is not fair value and then we will proceed with filing your case with the courts.
Phase 6: Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the involved parties are unable to settle on fair value compensation, this is the point when a formal lawsuit is filed, or the parties decide to enter into formal proceedings (like arbitration) in order to have a third party make a decision on the value of the case. There are lots of different types of litigation and depending on your case, the facts, the insurance company involved, etc., the attorney may recommend a specific type of litigation.
During this phase, discovery is conducted. This means the parties exchange information, questions, documents, and conduct depositions in order to further prove their side. This phase ends either when the case settles (which can still happen at any point during litigation) or when the trial or arbitration concludes and the award is paid out. This phase may also last longer than a trial or arbitration if either party decides to appeal the decision or verdict.
Phase 7: Disbursement Phase
Once a verdict is paid or a settlement is reached the case is moved to disbursement. This is where we gather final balances from all medical providers, health insurance companies, lien holders, etc., and find out how much everyone is owed. Then when the funds are received attorney fees, case costs, and medical providers are paid. All remaining funds are paid to you and once all the funds have been disbursed your case is closed.
If you are being told your case is closed and you have NOT reached the disbursement phase, we encourage you to speak with your lawyer or attorney. Sometimes a “closed case” does not mean what it may sound like, and sometimes insurance companies use tricky language to encourage you to stop the claims or case process.
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***This article is meant to serve as a general overview of the personal injury claim process, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney regarding your case. Our mission at Johnson | Livingston is to provide Utah injury victims and their families with real advice and genuine support no matter how long it takes. Call or reach out online today and talk with us about your case.