Know what to expect and how to navigate your personal injury case
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto, workplace, medical malpractice, or other catastrophic accident, the physical, emotional, and financial strains often feel as if they surmount at an exponential rate. Time seems to be of the essence and efforts to expedite your claim may prove to shortchange you of what you are entitled to, should you not be well-informed of common practices that can minimize your settlement. All personal injury cases are not created equal; there are many variables that can
influence the timeline of a personal injury case, and a trustworthy, experienced, and successful lawyer will never profess a guaranteed timeline. Esteemed personal injury attorneys can commit to resolving your case in the most efficient and effective way; our personal injury lawyers have spent decades fighting against culpable businesses and insurance companies in Pennsylvania and we will get you what you deserve.
First off, how long after my injury do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit case in Pennsylvania? When considering legal action, time is of the essence and personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of your injury. Every personal injury case has a “statute of limitations,” a legal term for the time period you have to file a lawsuit for your injury or death. The statute of limitations begins on the day the injury or death occurred and ends on the day that the law specifies. Once the end date lapses, you can no longer file a lawsuit.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Unfortunately, there are many complications that can occur with claims, settlement negotiations, and personal injury lawsuits. It is always a good idea to at least consult with an experienced, reputable, and successful personal injury attorney before making or agreeing to a settlement on a claim:
- Personal injury attorneys have resources: relationships with insurers, courts, investigators, directories, and databases that are not available to the general public.
- Personal injury attorneys are familiar with what insurance companies require to move a claim along, without errors. They know the tactics insurers may take to abbreviate a payout.
- Personal injury attorneys have teams to steer your paperwork, investigate and gather evidence, and to assess your injuries.
If you decide to handle your claim on your own and are not offered an appropriate settlement, you may want to contact a personal injury lawyer to weigh your options and get some input before making any decisions. Know that insurance companies aim to settle for minimal amounts and will prey upon your desire to be compensated quickly by offering minimal, swift settlements; receiving monies quickly does not mean a victory. Once you accept your settlement, you can not revisit the lawsuit at a later date —
even if your medical condition worsens. Contact the experts at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys by chat, phone, or using our easy contact form to get any questions about your accident answered, free of charge. We will get you the maximum compensation and the justice you deserve.
What Are the Steps to Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury case settlements should reflect past and future medical expenses, vehicle replacement or reparation costs, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering is a tricky one to quantify; it has been determined that jurors in a lawsuit often attribute value to what they regard as a similar case. Due to the importance of case worth assessment, the importance and value of having a reputable personal injury attorney on your side are paramount.
File a personal injury claim with your insurance company
Contact your insurance company and disclose how you were injured without placing blame. Be very cautious of the language you choose to use; remain neutral, and disclose the when and where particulars. Keep things short and simple, and do not agree to sign anything or to make a settlement on any proposals until you have connected with a reputable personal injury lawyer.
Choose an experienced personal injury attorney for your personal injury case
An experienced and knowledgeable accident attorney will ensure that you receive compensation for both present and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. A personal injury lawyer can protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve by:
- Governing all of your discovery investigation and paperwork
- Communicating and negotiating with the given insurance provider on your behalf
- Assessing your claim’s value
- Aggressively representing you in the courtroom if a settlement is not reached
Munley Law’s extensive experience and record of success have earned us the highest possible peer and client ratings: all partners are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and are consistently named Best Lawyers of America. With offices throughout Pennsylvania, we are prepared to help anyone with their personal injury needs, no matter how complex the case may be.
How Will a Personal Injury Attorney Help My Claim?
Your lawyers will investigate your claim, its authenticity and its durability:
- You will be asked to detail everything you know about the events leading up to your accident
- You will be interviewed about how you were injured, if you have pictures, and if there were witnesses
- You will be be asked about all of your injuries and medical treatment: current and projected care
- You will be interviewed about how the quality of your life has been and how it will continue to be impacted.
To assist and expedite, you should save all reports, including reports made by police officers, hospital staff, insurance companies, and witnesses. You should also save any medical bills, information regarding pay and hours that you receive from your employer, and other financial documents detailing any costs relating to your catastrophic accident. You should give all of this information to your legal team so that they can make copies and begin to build your case.
Do not accept the first settlement proposal for your personal injury case
The initial settlement proposal you receive from the insurance company generally does not cover all your expenses following an accident. That’s because the adjuster is trying to settle your claim with the least amount of money the insurance company is willing to pay. Unfortunately, many injury victims don’t
know how much their claim is truly worth and will take the first settlement offer they receive – be wary! Almost never accept your initial offer.
Attempt to negotiate your personal injury settlement
Your personal injury attorney will give a professional opinion about whether the opposing party is likely to be willing to settle and an estimate of what the party would likely settle for. Based on those projections, your lawyer may assert a “demand” for a settlement amount to the opposing party.
Negotiations then commence and if both sides reach an agreement, the case will settle for the agreed upon amount and no lawsuit will need to be filed.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Good lawyers will keep you informed about the realistic prospects of settling your case and settlement discussions. Your lawyer may not wish to assert a demand until you have reached the point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). MMI is the point at which the injured party has finished all major medical treatment and has physically recovered as much as possible. This is important because until you have reached maximum improvement, there is no telling what your total medical costs will be and how much you will need to recover. Waiting until the MMI stage gives lawyers the most accurate
information about how much each case is worth.
File a lawsuit against the at-fault party for your personal injury
Keeping the two-year statute of limitations in mind, an unjustified personal injury settlement proposal means that filing for a lawsuit is your likely next step. Have your attorney file your lawsuit to initiate proceedings to get you the compensation that you deserve.
Provide your personal injury attorney with additional information for discovery, if need be During the discovery process, both sides obtain information from each other to compare, assess and detail, in preparation for trial:
- Medical records
- Employment information
- Expert reports
Personal injury trials and phase two of settlement negotiations
After lawyers exchange information during the discovery process, there is a great deal of information that captures what is at stake; decisions about the worth of the case are more clear in this phase, for both parties. Most cases settle here, and never make it to trial.
Cases that do not settle during the discovery phase must prepare to go to trial. The judge will set ground rules for the proceeding through pretrial rulings:
- Witnesses will be determined
- Admissible evidence will be specified
- Evidence and testimony pre-established presentations will be determined
Trial and your personal injury lawsuit
Your personal injury attorney representing you at trial is well-versed with:
- Picking a jury who will understand your claim
- The rules of evidence
- How to direct and cross-examine witnesses
- When and how to use expert witnesses
- When to object to violations made by the defendant’s legal team
- How to compel the jury to rule in your favor and award the right amount of damages during opening and closing statements.
Collecting a judgement, post-trial motions, appeals and your personal injury lawsuit A jury may award a verdict recovering damages for your catastrophic injury, but it can be months or years before a personal injury plaintiff is paid. Parties are entitled to file certain post-trial motions and appeals of various decisions that occurred in the litigation leading up to the case or at trial. The process of collecting a judgment can also prove complex and contentious, so it is important to have a lawyer you can trust to do what is best for you and get you the compensation you need as soon as possible.
Munley Law is Here to Help
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our experienced litigators have won hundreds of cases in courts across Pennsylvania for over 60 years. We understand that the financial burdens following a serious injury can be overwhelming. That’s why our personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. We do not collect a fee unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. You pay nothing upfront.
Furthermore, having a personal injury lawyer review your case costs nothing because all of our initial consultations are FREE.
If you think you may have a case or have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit, Munley Personal Injury Attorneys will evaluate the details of your situation at no charge and let you know what legal options are available for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. You don’t pay until we win your case.