OUTLINE OF A PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE
Our office focuses on representing clients for Accidents, DUI's and suing Drunk Driving Drivers who injure our clients. This outline explains to our clients the different stages of a personal injury accident case.
It is important to note that a PI case could settle at any point and this outline is simply a brief plaintiff overview illustrating the beginning and ending of a case... should settlement not be reached.
This outline is designed to assist an accident victim thus allowing them to follow their PI case as it develops. In our office we contact our clients throughout the handling of a case to keep them informed of the status.
- Our office is retained to represent a PI victim.
- Medical records are collected at the conclusion of treatment. However, we ask to be updated with new medical providers.
- A settlement demand is prepared and sent to defendant's insurance company to attempt a positive resolution of their case.
- If no settlement is reached, or before the two year Statute of Limitations has passed from the date of the accident, a lawsuit (Summons and Complaint) is filed with the Court to protect our client's legal rights.
- The lawsuit is served on the defendant.
- Once the defendant is served, he/she has 30 days to file an Answer with the Court.
- The Plaintiff and Defendant exchange discovery in the form of Interrogatories (written questions), Request for Documents, Depositions and Request for Admissions. The defendant may also schedule an Independent Medical Examination (IME) of the Plaintiff. This entire process can take 6 months or more to conclude.
- The court may then order the case to non-binding Arbitration. This date is usually set at least 3-4 months afterwards. After Arbitration, the arbitrator renders an award within 30 days. One of two things will happen at this point: The award can be accepted by both Plaintiff and Defendant and the case is over or either Plaintiff or Defendant has 30 days to file a request for a Trial de Novo with the Court.
- If either Plaintiff or Defendant requests a Trial de Novo with the Court, a Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) and Trial date is scheduled at least 4 to 6 months in advance.
- The MSC is the last court hearing, before Trial, where attorneys, Plaintiff and Defendant make one last formal attempt to resolve their case before the judge.
- If no agreement is reached at the MSC, the case proceeds to Trial where a verdict is rendered. This is the final outcome of the case, absent an appeal. When a settlement or verdict is made, we wait to receive the settlement draft from the defendant's insurance company. Please note that it can take 30 days or more to receive this draft. Unfortunately, insurance companies continue to "deny and delay "in order to stall paying the money and allowing the insurance company to get the "float" on the money.
Once the draft is received, with the client's permission, we sign it for them and it is deposited into our Trust Account. Our Accounting Department then prepares a Disbursement Sheet showing the draft amount, less attorney fees, out-of-pocket costs and doctor bills/liens with a net amount to the client. Our office then arranges for our client to come in to approve and execute their Disbursement Sheet. We then tender the net amount to our client, for which we suggest checking with your CPA to confirm the money is TAX free. We then mail checks to the medical providers as itemized on the Disbursement Sheet. This concludes the case with our office.