Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

Hire a personal injury attorney


There is never a good time for an injury. Nobody ever starts their day and expects that they will suffer a personal injury that day. But, as our current climate has shown us, it is imperative expect the unexpected.

We should all try to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Suffering a personal injury can be much more difficult to experience without an understanding of what your rights and responsibilities are.

If you suffer your injury due to the action or inaction of another person, then you may be able to recover money to cover the expenses due to your injuries, and possibly more. In order to give yourself the best chance at recovery, we have included below a general timeline of what a personal injury case could look like.

Along each step you will find helpful tips to help you not only prepare in case of a personal injury, but also how to take action if you have been injured.

1. The Accident or Injury Happens

As stated at the top of this page, there is never a good time for an injury. But to help you manage the first steps after an accident, it is important to keep one thing in mind: collect as much information as you can immediately. Take lots of pictures of everything.

If you are in a car or auto accident, take more pictures of the cars, the scene, and any injuries than you think you need. More is better. Make sure to document where and when the accident occurred, what the weather was like, and any other information that could possibly be relevant.

Get any witness information you can and make sure to document it all. Get yourself a nice file folder and expect to fill it up with documents.

2. Seek Medical Attention

Even if your injuries aren’t apparent right away, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t go to the hospital in an ambulance that responds to the accident, go to the hospital/urgent care right after you take care of your immediate concerns related to the injury.

Seek out any specialists or therapists you may need for your recovery. Your injury documentation is key to your ability to win your personal injury case.

3. Speak with an Attorney

While you may think it’s better to wait to speak to an attorney until later, the sooner you speak to one can help you focus on the important immediate issues that are specific to your case.

It is also important to understand what legal services could cost you. The consultation at the Law Office of Sofia Miguel is always free. Under Sofia’s “No-Fee Guarantee” you will never write a check to our office for legal services.

4. Build Your Case

In order to get the best offer from an insurance company or opposing party, a complete investigation of the case needs to take place. Your attorney should compile any and all medical records, witness statements, and any other information to help build your case.

The documentation should fill in all gaps of time and information about your case, your injuries, and any treatment you received. It is important that your attorney does the necessary investigation to fully prepare your case for a trial if it is necessary.

5. File Insurance Claim or Settlement Demand

Most personal injuries settle without a trial. That is a simple fact that should help you feel a little more secure about receiving money for your injuries.

If your attorney has properly built your case, then you will find yourself in the best position to be able to receive the maximum payout. If not, then you will expectedly get lower offers to settle your case. Many times a lawsuit will need to be filed.

6. File Lawsuit (if Necessary)

If you are unable to reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company or opposing party, then it’s time to file a lawsuit. This usually happens when the offers you get are just simply too low for you to reasonably accept.

This step isn’t always necessary, but it may be needed to get people’s attention and show you are serious. Sometimes filing a lawsuit is exactly what you need to get the proper settlement offer. In the state of Washington, you have three years from the date of the injury to file your claim.

7. Discovery

Discovery is a process and period of time where both sides investigate each other’s legal claims and other information. This is the time when depositions are taken, documents are demanded, and legal research is done.

It is the main investigation period related to your case when a lawsuit is filed. This is the time when you show the other side both how strong your case is, and how much it’s worth.

8. Arbitration and/or Mediation

After the discovery process has informed both sides of the strengths and weaknesses of the case, then both sides come back to the table to see if a settlement can now be reached.

Courts will try to push for a settlement to be made so a trial can be avoided. Courts could assign mediation, or your case might require an arbitrator. Your best offer could come at this point as the opposing party might need to cut their losses and move on. This is the last point any meaningful negotiations take place before a trial.

9. Trial

An actual trial is the last step on the timeline. It is also the least common step since the vast majority of cases settle. If a settlement can’t be reached, then it is important to have an experienced personal injury trial attorney on your side who can present your case to a jury most effectively.

All the work you did with your attorney to this point helps strengthen your case immensely. A trial is the only option where you don’t know the outcome with any certainty, but it is also where the largest money judgements come from.

If your case makes it to trial, it is likely at the end of a long road of doctors’ visits, physical therapy sessions, and consistent pain and suffering. You only have one chance at a trial, make sure it’s done right.

We’re Here for You

Let Sofia’s nearly twenty years of experience in helping people recover for their personal injuries get to work for you now. If you have suffered a personal injury, attorney Sofia Miguel is standing by to answer your questions and help you fight to get the money you deserve. Call us at 253-200-4471, come visit our office right here in Puyallup at 702 S. Hill Park Dr. #207, or contact us online anytime. We are here for you.

Personal Injury Attorney Puyallup

Sofia K. Miguel, Attorney

Sofia K. Miguel has extensive litigation experience; she has tried or arbitrated hundreds of cases throughout Western Washington. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2000 and has 17 years’ experience representing injured people. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and an EAGLE member of the Washington State Association for Justice.

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