The Personal Injury Case Process in Ohio
Every personal injury case is unique. However, there is a common timeline that personal injury cases follow leading up to a settlement or trial, with some variances along the way.
If you have been hurt in an accident and you want to know what to expect from the personal injury case process, contact the Ohio personal injury attorneys of Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW.
We have several decades of collective experience representing individuals in similar circumstances and are prepared to guide you through your personal injury case with skill and compassion.
The Personal Injury Case Process
All personal injury claims, unfortunately, begin after being hurt in an accident that you believe was caused by another person. Your injuries may have been from a car accident, slip and fall, defective product, or another type of incident. Whatever the situation, your particular personal injury case process, will likely include:
Filing an Insurance Claim
After being hurt, the most obvious place to turn to for help is an insurance company. You may be able to benefit from your own health or auto insurance policy, yet you are most interested in the at-fault party’s insurance policy. You notify the other person’s or business’s insurance company of the upcoming claim, and then when you have more information regarding the extent of your injuries, you file a formal insurance claim seeking compensation.
Cooperating with the Insurance Adjuster
Once you file an insurance claim, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case to investigate the accident. The adjuster will obtain the police or other accident report, photos or videos of the accident, and your medical records. This and more will be used to determine if the insured party is liable for your injuries and how much your claim is worth. During this time, you have to work with the insurance adjuster and provide them documentation, such as your medical records. However, there are limits to what the adjuster is entitled to. By working with an attorney, you can be sure you do not give too much away that you were entitled to keep private.
Independently Investigating the Accident
It is in your best interests to conduct an independent investigation at the same time the insurance company looks into the claim. To do this, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who knows where to look for evidence and how to get it. Your lawyer may be able to find evidence the insurer did not request or may view the evidence in a different light than the insurer. Whatever the situation, your attorney will attempt to find out as much as possible about the accident and the liable party’s actions leading up to and after it.
During the investigation, your attorney may uncover information pointing to another liable party. For instance, if you were in a truck accident, you likely filed a claim with the trucking company’s insurer. However, more information may lead your attorney to believe that another party, such as the business that improperly loaded the truck, may have been responsible for the accident and liable for compensating you for your injuries. While some personal injury claims are straightforward, others involve responsible parties you may not have heard of.
After filing an insurance claim, it is common to receive an insurance settlement offer. First offers are usually low. However, an experienced attorney can help you decide if you should accept it or seek more money. Your next best step may depend on how far into an investigation you are and whether you have a full picture of the extent and cost of your injuries. If you and your attorney believe you deserve a greater amount, then it is likely that you will reject the settlement offer and provide a counter offer. This back-and-forth can end quickly or go on for a considerable amount of time.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods
In order to come to an agreeable settlement, you and the other party may turn to an alternative dispute resolution method. Mediation and arbitration are common alternative methods used to enable parties to come to an agreement outside of court. Mediation might be used during the negotiation process. During mediation, you and the other party, along with your lawyers, will meet privately with a neutral third party, the mediator. A mediator is not there to sway an argument or make any decisions. Instead, they are there to ensure the discussion stays on track and moves forward toward a resolution.
Arbitration is also sometimes used in personal injury cases. While it is not a trial, it can seem like a court proceeding. Your attorney and the other parties will submit your written arguments and/or provide oral arguments to one or more neutral arbitrators. These professionals will review the facts and come to a binding final decision.
Deciding to File a Lawsuit
You or the other party may not be willing to settle for a variety of reasons. When a settlement is not likely, then you must determine whether you will move forward with a personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney can help you understand the advantages and difficulties of this process. For instance, if you were injured by someone who is considered to have little-to-no assets to recover compensation from, then a lawsuit might be ill-advised. However, if you were injured by a business or an established individual, then it may be worth your time to seek compensation in court.
Our Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help
After being hurt in any accident, you likely have a lot of questions about what to do next. It is understandable to wonder whether you will be able to resolve the issues you’re facing quickly or whether you will have to suffer through a long legal battle. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we have the answers.
Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free initial consultation.