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Can you give me an overview of the process involved?

Meet With Your Attorney:  The first thing you will need to do is meet with your attorney.   At the meeting you will have the opportunity to go over the details of the case.  If it is your first meeting, you will be asked to sign a contingency fee agreement and medial record releases (so your attorney can obtain your records to pursue the case).   

Investigation:  Once you have signed a fee agreement, your attorney will then proceed to gather information about your case.  This will include acquiring documents such as a police report, photographs, statements, any applicable contracts, your medical records, medical bills and lost wage information.  The type of documents and information the attorney needs to gather will depend upon the type of case.  Your attorney will also inform the insurance companies and any other pertinent people that he or she represents you.  In some cases, the attorney will have to put certain parties on “notice” of your claim.

Negotiations:  The attorney will communicate with the other party (the defendant) or their representatives (attorney or insurance adjustor) on your behalf.  In some cases, there will be regular and constant communication between the parties.  Yet in others, there will be little or none.   This usually depends on the position the other side is taking regarding your claim.  In most cases, negotiations will begin when you have completed your medical treatment.   Prior to beginning any type of settlement discussions, your attorney will contact you or meet with you to discuss the potential value of your case.  Next, your attorney will present the defendant (or insurance adjustor/his or her attorney) with a demand to settle your case.   If the defendant is accepting fault for the accident, a counter offer will usually be made.  If the other side is not accepting fault, your attorney will most likely file a lawsuit without engaging in discussions with the other side.   Over time, your attorney will either be able to settle the case or will inform you that a lawsuit needs to be filed.  There are state laws that define the statutes of limitations.   These are laws that limit the time frame within which a lawsuit MUST be filed.  If the lawsuit is not filed in a timely manner, you will lose the opportunity to pursue a claim against the defendant (because it will be barred by law).

The Lawsuit:  If your attorney is unable to settle your case through negotiations, he or she will then proceed to file a lawsuit in court on your behalf.   Your case will then be prepared for potential trial.   Even after the lawsuit has been initiated, your attorney will continue to attempt to settle your case.   If the case does not settle, your attorney will then have the opportunity to present the facts of your case to a judge or a jury during a trial.   The judge or jury will then render a judgement or verdict in your case. 



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