Discover Exactly What You Need to Make Your Claim
If you were injured in a car accident in Colorado and are considering filing a personal injury suit against another driver, you may not know what to expect. The following is a breakdown of the common stages of a personal injury case:
Tending to Your Health
After an injury, it is important that you seek medical care right away, even if you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. It’s not only necessary to protect your health, but also for your personal injury claim, as an insurance adjuster may not take your injuries very seriously if you don’t seek medical treatment immediately. To preserve the integrity of your claim, you will need to comply with the treatment plan recommended by your primary care physician, keeping all appointments and heeding all advice regarding medication and therapy.
Assessing Your Work Situation
If your injury causes you to miss work and lose earnings, you need to calculate the wages you would have earned had you been able to go to work as usual. You’ll also need a letter from your physician describing your injuries and how long you will need to recover. If you have a severe injury and will be unable to return to the work you performed before the accident, you might also be able to make a claim for loss of future earning capacity.
Retaining a Colorado Personal Injury Attorney
Although it is possible for you to settle a personal injury claim without the assistance of an attorney, it is almost always advantageous for you to retain an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney to increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your damages, especially in the case of extensive or permanent injury.
Making a Demand
Once your primary care physician has determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning your medical treatment and your recovery is complete, your attorney will make a demand to the responsible party’s insurance company after calculating how much your case is worth. It is important that you wait until you’ve reached MMI before beginning the process to ensure that all your medical bills are included.
Negotiate an Acceptable Amount
After the demand is made, both parties’ attorneys will have the opportunity to negotiate the amount of money acceptable to settle the case. In general, the vast majority of personal injury cases come to some sort of out of court settlement before trial, but if the two sides cannot come to an agreement, your attorney will proceed with a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
If resolution cannot be reached through negotiation, your case will be filed in court before Colorado’s statute of limitations runs out, but settlement negotiations will continue right up until trial.
Once your case is filed in court, discovery, the process of formally exchanging information between the two parties will begin. The information shared during the discovery phase might be in the form of written questions and answers, depositions, or formal court pleadings, and pertains to the witnesses and evidence each party plans to present at trial.
A personal injury case will resolve in one of three ways: through settlement, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or litigation. If negotiations do not lead to a settlement, the attorneys might try some form of ADR, such as mediation or arbitration. If the ADR process fails, the parties will proceed to trial, where the court’s decision will be binding, although it may be appealed, depending on the circumstances.