If you have sustained an injury in an accident that was not your fault, you have the right to initiate a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, just as in every state, there is a certain amount of time it takes to settle or resolve this type of claim. Generally, cases that are simple, with the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries being known and another person obviously being liable for the accident, such as a car accident involving a drunk driver, can be settled in a matter of weeks following the completion of course of any medical treatment. More complex cases can take many months or even years before they are resolved, whether through settlement or following a jury verdict at trial. It’s important to understand the timeline of a typical personal injury case in Tulsa.
Investigation and Review of Medical Records
Once you have received medical attention and found an experienced personal injury lawyer in Tulsa, OK, the lawyer has a lot of work to do. The first step is to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident which could include reconstructing the events using an accident reconstructionist expert. The attorney will also interview you to learn more about your background and about the facts of your case. They will also review your medical records to learn about your injury and any treatment you have received and any ongoing care you might require. This also involves going through all bills relating to your injury. This process, as a whole, can take a few months.
Demand and Negotiation
If your personal injury claim is smaler in nature, your personal injury attorney will make a settlement demand to the insurance company for the at-fault party. This generally takes place before a lawsuit is even filed, as many smaller cases are settled early on. The demand can be made to the other person’s attorney or their insurance company.
In other instances, the lawyer may determine that it is best to go ahead and file the lawsuit on your behalf. The demand and negotiation don’t usually occur until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is when your medical treatment is over, and you have recovered as much as you possibly can. Up until this point, your attorney may not know how much your case is worth..
After Your Lawsuit is Filed
Once your personal injury lawsuit is filed, there is no telling exactly when the case may go to trial. It varies, but in general, it can take 10 months and up to two years for a personal injury case to be heard at trial. There is also a statute of limitations in Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma in general, which means a lawsuit must be filed within that time frame or the court will not hear the case.
Discovery is the process where both parties investigate the other’s claims and defenses. Interrogatories (written questions that a party is required to answer) are sent to the other side and depositions of parties and witnesses take place. Discovery can take six months to a year to conclude.
Mediation and Negotiation
Next, both lawyers may discuss the settlement, which can take place either informally, or during a mediation. Mediation takes place before a mediator to settle a case.
If mediation doesn’t work, the case goes to trial. Personal injury trials can last one day, a week or longer. Additionally, it’s important to know that just because a case is scheduled on a certain day for a trial, it doesn’t necessarily take place on that day. It’s common for trials to be rescheduled due to the judge’s schedule. This too can cause the case to take some time.
If you are in Tulsa and need legal assistance, get in touch with one of the skilled personal injury lawyers in Tulsa, OK, at Wandres Law. Over the past decade, Patrick Wandres has represented hundreds of victims of personal injuries, ensuring they received the compensation, and more importantly the justice, they deserved and needed. He will sit down personally with you and discuss the details of your claim, and advise on the most efficient legal plan of action to bring your claim to a successful resolution.
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