RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
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Stages of a Personal Injury Case


Personal Injury

The Gainesville Personal Injury Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. know the numerous challenges that victims face following an accident or injury. For many, understanding the claims process, complex court procedures, as well as insurance law and the judicial system in general, can cause additional stress to a victim during an already nerve-wracking period of time.

With mounting medical bills and concerns over supporting their family, victims often inquire about the length of time it will take to resolve their claim. Providing a precise time period for resolution can be difficult though, because every case is unique. However, by knowing the basic stages involved in seeking compensation for your injury claim, victims are often better able to understand where they stand in terms of resolution of their matter, which can provide some much needed peace of mind.

Stage 1 – Investigation

During this stage, your attorney will evaluate the facts of the case, assess issues of fault and sources of liability; prepare your file and continue to gather documents and records; notify appropriate parties; take measures to preserve evidence; and begin the process of securing letters of protection for medical treatment. Your attorney may also advise you regarding the importance of adhering to treatment plans, keeping a log of out-of-pocket expenses, refraining from communications with certain parties/directing inquiries to your attorney; and any other factor they may impact the victim’s legal rights, entitlement to compensation, or case in general.

Stage 2 – Pre-suit Demand

In some cases, particularly those involving death or catastrophic injury, your attorney may decide that the best legal-tactical approach is to submit an immediate demand for settlement. Doing so essentially gives the insurance company an outlet to avoid: (1) the risk of liability being imposed upon them in an amount that exceeds initial offers; (2) the financial burden of ongoing attorney’s fees; and (3) the possibility of additional consequences for failing to act in good faith.

Often time, it is more appropriate for the victim to continue their treatment prior to submitting an initial demand letter, or submitting a counter-offer to an initial demand. During this time, your attorney will continue to gather information, documents and records, whether PIP logs, medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, treatment notes and reports, as well as explore other evidentiary options, including preparing pre-trial discovery requests; obtaining witness statements; and consulting with experts, such as accident reconstruction or medical professionals.

In most cases, the demand letter is not sent until the  patient reaches ‘Maximum Medical Improvement’ (MMI), and the treatment provider prepares a ‘Final Narrative Report’ (FNR), including any recommendations, referrals, suggestions, or medical opinions relating to the need for maintenance treatment, surgery, or other future medical expenses. By waiting until MMI, your attorney is better able to assess damages and can pinpoint a more accurate value of your case, which in turn allows the defendant to consider your demand in more realistic terms.

Negotiation between the parties will typically remain ongoing. Your attorney will discuss with you any offers to settle, and allow you the opportunity to accept or reject such offers. If the parties are still unable to reach agreement, following reasonable attempts to negotiate and settle the claim, then it will be necessary to pursue your case further by way of filing suit with the court.

At this point, the case can be said to have entered the litigation stage…

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Stage 3 – Litigation

Once your case has been formally commenced with the court, and served upon all necessary parties, there are several things that will generally occur during this stage:  negotiations will continue; documents and information will be exchanged (discovery); subpoenas may be issued and depositions may be taken. Experts will often play an integral role during the litigation stage, as your attorney prepares to take your case to trial. In some cases, the court may order, or the parties may agree to participate in mediation. Often time, settlement offers presented during mediation are greater than pre-suit offers.

Keep in mind, though, that the ultimate decision to settle a case is always up to the client, and neither the court nor your attorney can force you to accept a settlement offer. What your attorney can do, though, is evaluate the adequacy of the most recent offer, explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and discuss the advantages and/or disadvantages of proceeding to trial, so that you can make an informed decision.

Stage 4 – Trial

Statistically speaking, the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled prior to reaching the trial stage. In fact, it is not uncommon for settlement to be reached during last-minute negotiations occurring immediately prior to trial. In some cases, the parties may even enter an agreement during the actual trial, but before a judgment has been rendered.

Whenever trial is necessary, it is critically important to have an attorney advocating on your behalf that has actual trial experience. As skilled trial attorneys, Alba & Yochim has the technical and legal resources, litigation support staff, and legal-know how to effectively and aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve. You are encouraged to view testimonials from previous clients attesting to our skill, aptitude, and dedication to obtaining justice for the injured.