Timeline of a Nashville Personal Injury Case
If you have been in an accident in Nashville or surrounding areas of Tennessee, you may have a lot of questions about what you need to do next, how to deal with the insurance company, and what you can do to get treatment and compensation for your injuries and property damage.
The personal injury attorneys at Bill Easterly & Associates can lead you through the process of filing a personal injury claim and make every effort to seek full compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys provide compassionate service because we understand how stressful it is to be the victim of serious injuries caused by another negligent party.
If you decide to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages, you should know more or less what kind of timeline to expect. We can walk you through a general timeline of what how your personal injury case may play out in Tennessee.
First: Seek Medical Treatment
Make sure you get treatment for your injuries. Your priority should be your recovery — whatever treatments and follow-up treatments you need to recover as much as you are able from your injuries.
Getting the treatment you need will also be a necessary part of showing the damages that you suffered as a result of your personal injury.
Second: Find an Attorney
If you have never had to hire an attorney before (or perhaps if you have, for a different kind of case), you may have some concerns or apprehensions about the cost of paying an attorney. Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingent basis. That means that you do not have to pay your attorney any legal fees upfront. Their fee is a percentage of any award or settlement you receive. If you do not recover compensation on your claim, you do not owe your attorney anything for attorney’s fees.
The Nashville personal injury associates at Bill Easterly & Associates have years of experience helping clients successfully pursue personal injury claims. They go the extra mile to make sure you can focus on your recovery rather than your case.
Third: Your Attorney Will Begin to Put Your Case Together
Once you have chosen a lawyer and they agree to represent you, they will begin their own investigation into the facts of the case. They will gather evidence to show fault or negligence, examine medical records, talk to witnesses and potential experts, and assemble the foundation of a personal injury claim.
They will also examine evidence of the injuries you have suffered as well as other measures of noneconomic and economic damages so they can establish how much you should seek in recovery. Damages include more than just the medical expenses or property damages that result from your accident. They can also include:
- Therapy or rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship/consortium
- Other losses
Fourth: Any Insurance Companies Involved Will Do Their Own Investigations
If your personal injury was related to something for which the other party has insurance coverage, their insurance adjuster will perform their own investigation into the accident. They will talk to witnesses, survey damages, examine the police report (if there is one), and possibly try to talk to you as well about what happened.
Talk to your lawyer before you make any statements to the insurance company, especially if they press for a recorded or written statement from you without your attorney present.
Fifth: Possible Negotiations Between Your Attorney and The Other Party’s Insurer
Once you have reached the point where you have completed all of your medical treatments, your lawyer should have a very good idea of how much your case is worth. The point where you have reached your maximum recovery is called maximum medical improvement (MMI).
At that point, your lawyer may approach the other party about negotiating a settlement, even before filing a lawsuit. Many cases settle in this stage, but sometimes the insurers simply refuse to agree to a fair settlement offer.
Sixth: Filing a Lawsuit
If negotiations are a dead end, your attorney can file a lawsuit. This must be done within Tennessee’s statute of limitations on personal injury cases. The statute of limitations is the time period allowed for filing a claim. For most cases in Tennessee, you must file within one year of the date you were injured. Some narrow exceptions may extend the deadline.
Seventh: Discovery Process for the Lawsuit
The discovery process involves obtaining evidence from the other party through document requests, depositions, and requesting answers to interrogatories (formal questions). The discovery process can be lengthy, taking months or longer. A negotiated settlement may still be reached at any point during the process. Sometimes, as more facts come out during discovery, the insurance company may become more willing to make a fair settlement offer instead of risking trial.
If all attempts at negotiating a settlement still fail, then your case will proceed to trial. The length of the trial will depend on the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses involved. It is still possible to reach a settlement agreement at any point before a verdict is handed down.
After both sides present their cases, a decision and possible award will be determined by judge or jury. If the result is unfavorable, it may be possible to appeal the case based on errors of law during the proceedings.
Contact Our Nashville Personal Injury Attorneys Today
A personal injury attorney can evaluate your case, assess fault and damages suffered, and aggressively negotiate a fair settlement with the party at fault and their insurers.
The attorneys at Bill Easterly & Associates go the extra mile to make sure that you have an aggressive advocate fighting for the maximum possible compensation for you. We want you to focus on recovering and not incur extra stress from worrying about your claim.
Contact Bill Easterly & Associates today to schedule your free consultation and put your mind at ease.