The timetable below is a general guideline for the usual small to medium Personal Injury cases. The actual time for each case will, of course, vary.
- You take your case to your Personal Injury Attorney’s office—and you have your first interview with your Attorney.
- The Contingent Fee Agreement is explained and presented by your Attorney for your review.
- Your Attorney gives you instruction sheets and information booklet.
- Your Attorney fills out intake forms and acquires general information.
- You sign authorization forms, including medical, employment, and others.
- Your Attorney’s secretary prepares your file.
- The Contingent Fee Agreement is executed.
- The initial investigation of your case begins. Your Attorney will:
- Visit the scene of incident.
- Contact the witnesses and interview them by telephone or in person.
- Consider whether or not to employ an investigator.
- Explore the availability of medical or health insurance.
- Obtain police and other governmental reports.
- Have photographs of scene, objects, Injury, etc. taken.
Your Attorney will also:
- Send a representation letter to appropriate insurance carriers or potential defendants.
- Send a Notice of Claim by certified or registered mail, if appropriate in your jurisdiction.
- Consider the decision to retain an expert.
- Obtain newspaper clippings.
- Obtain initial medical bills.
- Request emergency report from hospital.
|Weeks 4-8:|| Your Personal Injury Attorney will:|
- Obtain further medical reports and bills.
- Obtain remaining reports such as Secretary of State, police, etc.
- Obtain names and contact in writing all potential witnesses, requesting notification of any changes in address or phone number.
- Send appropriate information including medical reports, medical bills, police reports, and other supporting documents to the insurance adjuster.
- Discuss your case by telephone with the insurance adjuster.
- Meet with you to determine recovery progress.
- Retain expert(s), if necessary, considering both liability and damage factors.
|Weeks 8-12||Your Personal Injury Lawyer will:|
- Check with you to gauge progress of recovery.
- Make sure all medical bills are in your file.
- Make sure all medical reports, including office notes, have been received.
- Obtain a narrative report from primary physicians, if necessary.
- Complete investigation of incident.
- Obtain reports from experts whom the Attorney has retained and/or discuss results of their investigation.
|12 weeks plus||Your Personal Injury Lawyer will:|
- Determine your recovery status.
- Keep track of your progress and follow up with you on medical information.
- Obtain initial loss of wage or loss of income information from your employer.
- Review file and diary file for 2-4 week periods to maintain status with you.
- Meet with your appropriate family members, such as your spouse, to ascertain your recovery and credibility.
- Talk with your doctor or physical therapist, if necessary, to ascertain status of your recovery progress.
- Maintain telephone and written contact with insurance adjuster regarding your progress.
- Maintain running tally of medical expenses.
|2-6 weeks post-recovery or near complete recovery||Your Attorney will:|
- Meet with you to determine whether or not complete, or near complete, recovery and medical end result has taken place.
- Evaluate settlement range by reviewing medical bills, medical reports, and other evaluation analysis.
- Determine whether there are any liens or subrogations on your claim such as workers’ compensation, medical payments, health payments, loans, or other claims.
- Meet with you to discuss settlement range and obtain your authority to begin settlement negotiations.
- Review file in its entirety.
- Obtain final lost wage documentation.
- Ascertain from the adjuster whether the insurance carrier requires any additional information, reports, etc.
- ConFirm with insurance adjuster that all medical reports, medical bills, and lost wage documentation have been furnished.
- Prepare demand or request for settlement to send to adjuster.
|4 weeks after demand has been sent to ins carrier:|| Your Personal Injury Attorney will:|
- Check to see if the insurance adjuster has responded to request for settlement.
- If not, your Attorney will send a courteous letter asking for a response to request for settlement, giving a 2-week deadline.
|6 weeks after demand has been sent:|
- If the adjuster still has not responded, your Attorney will call and request an exact date on which the response can be expected.
- Diary file and calendar.
|8 weeks after demand has been sent:|
- If there has been no offer, your Attorney will interview you and instruct you about the necessity to file suit.
Your Attorney will then:
- Review your file in its entirety
- Draft the Complaint and Summons.
- File the suit on your behalf.
- Send a copy of the suit to insurance adjuster and to claims manager of the company.
- If the adjuster has made a reasonable offer, your Attorney will call you and discuss the offer. Some states require Lawyers to always inform their clients of offers made in writing.
|2 weeks after offer has been made:|
- If the offer is reasonable with room to move, your Attorney will respond by telephone or in writing with reduced demand.
- Negotiations will continue for the next several weeks, if necessary, to conclude settlement.
- If settlement is accomplished, your Attorney will ask for the check and release.
- You will execute the release immediately and your Attorney will explain to you the disbursement of settlement proceeds.
Your Attorney will then:
- Pay all unpaid medical bills, liens, and disbursements.
- Pay check with closing letter.
- Send thank you letters to appropriate patties, such as witnesses, etc., and send the release and courteous letter back to adjuster.
|If suit has been filed, 4 weeks after suit:||Your Attorney will:|
- Ascertain whether the answer has been timely filed.
- If no answer has been filed, determine why and investigate advantages of filing for default.
|8-16 weeks after suit:|| Your Personal Injury Lawyer will:|
- Initiate discovery by use of interrogatories and requests for production of documents.
- Follow the preTrial requirements of court.
- If interrogatories and requests for production of documents have been received from defense Attorney, review them immediately with you.
- If interrogatory answers have been received, schedule depositions.
|4-6 months after suit:|| Your Personal Injury Lawyer will:|
- Double check that all discovery has been completed or at least initiated within required time frames.
- Send requests for admission to delineate both liability and damage issues.
- Designate experts, if necessary.
- Conduct any remaining depositions.
|6 months after suit to Trial date:||Your Personal Injury Attorney will:|
- Review your file periodically to determine status in court.
- Complete all necessary steps to get case to Trial as soon as possible.
- Prepare witnesses and exhibits for Trial.
- Take video depositions of witnesses, including medical witnesses, if necessary.
- Prepare Trial notebook.
- Make sure defense counsel has received all necessary information about experts.
- Prepare Motions in Limine, if appropriate.
- Contact defense Attorney and/or adjuster to determine whether out-of-court settlement is possible.
- Contact court from time to time to ascertain time frame for Trial.
- Prepare for Trial.