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Personal Injury Litigation – What to Expect
About Personal Injury Attorney Jason Wischmeyer.
Indianapolis Indiana Personal Injury Attorney, Jason Wischmeyer, provides legal representation to those injured as a result of the negligence of someone else. His representation includes those suffering injuries resulting from auto accidents, truck accidents, falls on property, medical malpractice, defamation and wrongful death. With over 15 years’ experience representing injured persons, Indianapolis, Indiana personal injury lawyer , Jason Wischmeyer, has the knowledge, resources and power to get results for you. There are no attorney fees to pay until Indianapolis, Indiana Personal Injury Attorney, Jason Wischmeyer, recovers money for you. Call today at 317-429-0210 to get my expertise on your side and get your case resolved.
Personal Injury Case Timeline.
A personal injury case that is properly handled usually takes some time. It requires your attorney to perform a number of tasks to prepare your case to submit a demand that is both reasonable and justified. Here is what you can expect:
- Hire an Attorney. You hire an Indiana personal injury lawyer such as Jason Wischmeyer. You will be asked to sign a Contingency Fee Agreement setting forth the terms and conditions of your representation and specifically setting forth the compensation the attorney will receive for your representation. This is a first day of representation activity generally.
- Medical Authorization. You sign a Medial Records Authorization. This document allows an attorney to obtain your medical records which will be necessary to submit to the insurance company to establish your injuries, your medical expenses and your prognosis. This is a first day of representation activity generally.
- Liability Determination Documents. Your attorney will obtain a copy of any liability determination documents such as an accident crash report. You can get your own crash report from www.buycrash.com. Copies of any scene photos taken by the officers will be obtained from the investigating officer. This process starts on the first day of representation and can take up to 60 days to complete depending on the circumstances.
- Medical Records. Your attorney obtains your medical records from your treating doctor’s offices. This process generally takes 30 – 90 days to complete; however, can take longer if you are still treating as your attorney may want to wait until you are closer to maximum medical improvement to obtain your records.
- Analysis of Medical Records. Your attorney analyzes your medical records and determines if there is any pre-existing injury or treatment that may bear on your case. If so, these pre-accident records will be obtained and analyzed to refute any claims that the accident did not cause your injuries. This process is an ongoing process as records are received.
- Letter of Representation. Your attorney notifies the insurance company of representation. This stops the calls from the insurance company to you and triggers the insurance company’s review of your file. Pre-suit negotiations generally occur 90 – 180 days after your medical records are obtained, if appropriate for your claim.
- Pre-Litigation Settlement Discussions, if appropriate. You and your attorney will determine whether to make a pre-litigation demand for payment. There are many factors that determine whether a pre-litigation demand is justified or warranted including whether you are still treating, the reasonableness of the insurance company, your injuries, your treatment, any complicating factors such as pre-existing conditions, the facts of the accident and the anticipated value of your claim.
- Litigation Filing. Your attorney will prepare a Complaint for Damages and file with the appropriate Court having jurisdiction over your claim. Generally, jurisdiction will be where the accident happens. You only have 2 years from the date of the accident or event to file a lawsuit in Indiana so this may occur before you are done treating to “preserve the statute”.
- Service of Process. Once litigation commences, your attorney will obtain service upon the person that caused your injuries. Service is where a copy of the Complaint is provided to the defendant(s) in the lawsuit notifying him/her/them of your claim. This usually occurs within 30 days of the filing of the Complaint. The insurance company for the person that caused your personal injuries will also receive a courtesy copy of the Complaint.
- Answer to Complaint. The party that caused your injuries will file an Answer to the Complaint stating what he/she/they agree with and disagree with. This generally happens 30 – 60 days after Service of Process.
- Discovery. This process starts at or around the time the Answer is filed. The other party will likely submit written questions (Interrogatories) and written request that you produce documents (Requests for Production) in support of your claims in the lawsuit. You will have 30 days from the date the attorney receives the discovery to provide your answers although sometimes an extension of time may be obtained to give you ample opportunity to answer the questions. Your attorney will assist you in answering the questions and producing documents and submitting the responses back to the attorney representing the person that caused your injury. This generally happens during the first 180 days after a lawsuit is filed.
- Depositions. Depositions are where you meet in a room with the attorney representing the person that caused your injury that that attorney has the opportunity to ask you questions, under oath. A court reporter is present and types everything that is said while on the record during a deposition. You can expect to be asked background questions, questions about the accident, questions about your medical treatment, questions about your injuries, questions about your damages and questions about your current health status. This will likely happen 90 – 270 days after the Complaint is filed.
- Initial Pre-Trial Conference and Case Management Plan. This is a meeting for the attorneys to attend with the Court in order to create a schedule for the timely resolution of your lawsuit. The Court will enter various orders of when to file or submit certain documents in your case, a Final Pre-Trial will be scheduled and a Jury Trial will be scheduled. Alternatively, the Court may require the parties to confer and submit a Case Management Plan and then provide the parties with the dates for the Final Pre-Trial and Jury Trial. This will likely happen in the 90 – 120 days after the Complaint is filed.
- Mediation. The Court will likely order the parties to mediate the case. This is a process where a third attorney gets involved and seeks to resolve the case for the parties. The mediator will meet with each side individually and listen to the reasons each side believes that they are correct in the valuation of your case. The mediator will assist with negotiations in the hope that a resolution can be reached. This process generally will occur about 6 months to 1 year after the Complaint is filed. The vast majority of cases settle at or before this point in the litigation process.
- Final Pre-Trial Conference. You may or may not need to attend the Final Pre-Trial Conference. This is a conference where the attorneys are instructed on how the Jury Trial will be conducted. The Court may also consider various Trial Motions and make a preliminary determination on evidence admission within the scope of the Indiana Trial Rules. This Hearing will likely occur about 30 days before the Jury Trial.
- Jury Trial. If a case does not resolve by agreement, the Court will have the parties appear in Court and present the case to a jury. The jury will be made up of a panel of 6 members of the community where the accident occurred. This 6-member jury will then listen to all the evidence and arguments and, ultimately, issue a verdict (i.e. a decision) in your case of whether you should receive any money and how much. Only a few cases actually reach a jury decision in Indiana as most cases are resolved prior to a Jury Trial. Still, in order to maximize value for your case, you, and your Indiana personal injury lawyer, must show a willingness to proceed to a Jury Trial while understanding the risks involved in doing so. Your risks include that a jury could award you $0 or award you less than what you hope to receive. The other parties risk is that a jury could award you at or more than what you hope to receive. A jury trial generally will take place 1 – 1 ½ years after the filing of the Complaint depending on the Court’s docket congestion.
- Appeal. If the Judge makes any alleged errors, the case could go to the Indiana Court of Appeals or Indiana Supreme Court to determine what the law is or should be and whether the Judge made an error. If the judge is determined to have made an error, the case would be sent back to the judge for another trial or with instructions on how to correct the error. If the judge has not made an error, the jury verdict will become the final result in the case. Very few cases are reviewed on appeal, but, if an appeal is necessary it will likely be initiated within 30 days of the alleged error or 30 days after the jury trial. An appeal is a long process and generally takes about 9 months to a year to complete.
This certainly is not an exhaustive list of all the proceedings that will occur when you hire an Indiana personal injury lawyer such as Jason Wischmeyer, but this should provide you with an overview of what to expect and an approximate time line. All cases are different and will take on different paths, but, in nearly every case, this will be the process employed by the Court and your attorney to get you compensation for you injuries.