If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a negligent driver, then you are probably searching for an experienced Massachusetts accident lawyer. In your searches, you will most likely come across many advertisements, blogs, articles, and case results. But you may be wondering what you'll have to do on your end for your Massachusetts personal injury case if you decide to pursue compensation. The amount of time depends on the avenue your personal injury claim takes.
Time Needed in a General Bodily Injury Claim
In a typical bodily injury claim against an at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier, our Framingham injury office generally explains to clients that we will handle all the legal and insurance issues. All we ask is for is a little administrative work.
Keep Your Accident Attorney in the Know About Your Medical Status
We ask our injury client to keep our office updated periodically on their medical treatment and injury status. The client is free to update us as often as they’d like, however, our staff and attorneys usually follow up with clients every 30 to 60 days if we haven’t heard from them in the meantime.
Once treatment is completed, our staff will obtain all the related medical records, notes, and bills in order to prepare a demand for settlement to be served on the negligent driver’s insurance company. Prior to the demand being sent out, our attorneys will request a meeting or a phone conference with the client to review the medical providers they treated with, the treatment history, and obtain specifics about the pain and suffering the client endured as a result of their injuries.
Jump on a Few Calls During Settlement Negiations
There will also be several phone conversations during settlement negotiations. This is so we can keep our clients updated on the insurance companies’ offers of settlement and/or their positions regarding any issues that may arise in a specific claim, such as an aggravation of a preexisting injury or an insurance company’s assertion of comparative negligence.
Pick Up Your Injury Settlement Money!
Upon settlement of the claim, the net proceeds of the injury settlements are either mailed to our clients or some elect to pick their checks up at our Framingham law office.
Attend an Independent Medical Examination or Examination Under Oath
Keep in mind that sometimes the injury client may need to attend an examination under oath or an independent medical examination. These two events will require the injury client to drive or take transportation to another law office or medical office. In other situations, the injury client may need to provide a statement over the phone. Additionally, in some cases, our law office will require a medical narrative report. The medical professional requested to draft the medical narrative will need to examine the injured client. Thus, the client will need to attend that examination too. The amount of time needed for these matters vary and can range from 15 minutes to hours.
Time Involved When a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Filed in Massachusetts
When someone is injured due to negligent, careless, or wrongful actions of another, sometimes it is necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. There are many reasons why a personal injury lawsuit may be filed in Massachusetts as opposed to proceeding as a bodily injury claim. Regardless of the reason, after an injury lawsuit is filed in a Massachusetts court, aside from all of the time involved as stated above in the injury claim process, the injury client (now a Plaintiff in the lawsuit) will need to become more involved.
The amount of time the injury client or Plaintiff will need to spend depends on what phase of litigation their case is in. For example, a Plaintiff in a lawsuit will need to participate in responding to discovery requests, such as answering interrogatories and responding to requests for production of documents from the Defendant(s) and their lawyers. Also, the Plaintiff will need to attend a deposition to give oral testimony under oath about the accident, their injuries, etc.
Time Associated with Discovery
The time involved with discovery usually depends on how many and how thorough the Defendant(s) discovery requests. But a Plaintiff should expect to spend at least a couple of hours answering interrogatories and gathering documents the Defendant(s) requested. This also includes time reviewing the answers and responses with their personal injury attorney either in person or over the phone. The amount of time for a Plaintiff’s deposition differs and depends on specific issues involved in the lawsuit or injuries. However, usually depositions are completed anywhere from an hour or two to a full day. In more complex personal injury litigation, depositions can last more than a day. For example, in a trucking accident case our office is handling from a crash that occurred in Watertown, MA, there are five defendants in the lawsuit. At a deposition, each of the parties’ lawyers are allowed to ask questions. So, when you have six different attorneys asking questions, the depositions will take much longer than a case with only one defendant/defense attorney.
Time Associated with Mediation, Arbitration, or a Jury Trial
Once discovery is completed, the personal injury lawsuit will proceed to either alternative dispute resolution (i.e., mediation or arbitration) or a jury trial. At either proceeding, the Plaintiff will need to attend. Though, before either proceeding, the injury client or Plaintiff should anticipate meeting with their accident attorney to review the case and prepare for the proceeding. At an arbitration or a jury trial, the Plaintiff will need to testify. Thus, our injury attorneys spend quite a bit of time preparing our clients to testify. The amount of time, again, depends on the specific issues presented in the personal injury lawsuit.
If the case goes to trial, the Plaintiff should expect to be in court for the entire trial. A civil jury trial can last for a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexities and issues involved in the case. Your injury attorney should be able to reasonably anticipate the length of the trial allowing you to plan accordingly. Some Massachusetts courts will only hold trials for half-days, which is usually beneficial for Plaintiffs with family or work requirements.
Final Thoughts on Time You Need to Devote to Your Accident Case
Regardless of which path your accident case takes, keeping in touch with your injury lawyer and their staff is very important. It allows the injury law office to keep their files up to date with your treatment status and the different medical providers you’ve treated with. You want to make sure you are seeking compensation for all related treatment and medical bills. So, make sure your lawyer knows every place you’ve been for treatment.
Additionally, keeping in touch with and updating your lawyer is a great way for you to get updates on your personal injury claim or lawsuit. That way, you will know exactly what is going on with your case. It's a win-win!