The Life of a Personal Injury Claim

— By John Merrick —

We’ve handled both sides of personal injury cases for many years. There are up to six distinct stages:

  • Intake: Every case starts here and involves gathering information directly from our client and relatives.
  • Pre-Suit: We obtain information from other sources in support of the case, such as the police report, witness statements, available insurance, medical records and bills, photographs, surveillance videos, documents in support or lost wages. Once we have all the necessary information and records, we submit a demand letter to the at fault party and/or the insurance company to try and settle the case.
  • Settlement: If the case settles, the insurance company tenders a settlement check and our client signs a Release of all claims. We place the check in our escrow account until it clears, then disburse the settlement funds.
  • Litigation: If the case does not settle pre-suit, then we file a lawsuit (called a “Complaint”) and begin the litigation process. This process allows the parties to gather additional information by sending each other written questions, requesting documents, asking people questions under oath and issuing subpoenas to third parties. The litigation process can take several months to years to complete and ends with a trial unless the parties are able to reach a settlement.
  • Trial: Trials are rare. Normally cases are settled before trial. A trial can last a day or weeks, depending on the case. Most personal injury trials last one to four days, but longer trials are not uncommon. A trial allows the parties to submit their evidence to a jury, who renders a verdict after careful deliberation. A jury verdict must be unanimous.
  • Appeal: Appeals from Circuit Court must have a legal basis as opposed to mere dissatisfaction with the outcome. Appeals from General District Court to the Circuit Court are permitted as a matter of right, if noted properly.

For over ten years we handled cases on the insurance company side. Now, we only handle cases for the injured victims. Our experience on both sides sets us apart. We use what we learned on the defense to develop strategies for achieving the best results possible.

If you have any questions about a case, call accident lawyer John Merrick at 804-464-7719

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