Experienced injury attorney Robert Byrne explains how personal injury claims get resolved.

How Personal Injury Claims Get Resolved

December 6, 2023 in Personal Injury Articles | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

Resolving a personal injury claim is a process that involves several key steps.  It is important to think of your case as having different stages or phases.  Generally speaking, here is a general overview of the process to resolve a personal injury claim:

  1. Obtain Medical Attention and Evaluation. The most important phase following an accident is for you to obtain medical evaluation and treatment for your injuries. It may be the case that you were shaken up but do not feel injured from the crash. That is often typical, as parties often feel an adrenaline surge after the crash that masks discomfort. Because you have experienced a traumatic event, it is best to be evaluated and for injuries to be diagnosed. If you have been injured, prioritize your health. Be sure to follow your healthcare provider’s advice for treatment and recovery.
  2. Investigation Stage. An experienced personal injury firm will collect evidence related to the accident. For more serious crashes, we often hire a private investigator and accident reconstructionist to visit the scene, observe any roadway marks, inspect vehicles, take photographs, download electronic control modules, obtain witness statements, and request documents from a number of sources, including emergency responders, police, and other government officials. Some of this evidence, like road markings or vehicles, can disappear or be destroyed shortly after the crash. For that reason, it is important to act quickly to obtain that information.
  3. Identify the Responsible Party. An important part of the investigation stage is to determine who is at fault for the accident. This might be another individual, a business, or an entity. As part of a personal injury claim it is important to establish “liability,” which means showing that a party failed to act as a reasonable party would have acted under the circumstances.
  4. Initiate Insurance Claims. Our firm will take care of communicating with the at-fault party’s insurance company about the accident. We will also discover insurance policies for other parties that might provide coverage. Communicating with the insurance company can be discouraging, as they may attempt to take a statement from you that trips you up on certain details that are important to your case. Think of dealing with insurance companies the same way police are portrayed in the movies: anything you say can and will be used against you!
  5. Negotiation with Insurance Company. Once we understand the extent of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery, we can move forward with making a demand to settle against the insurance company. We will not make any offer to settle without your approval and agreement. The insurance company may make an initial settlement offer. We will attempt to negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other non-economic damages, including pain and suffering.
  6. File a Lawsuit, if necessary. Because of our successes in the courtroom, we push for aggressive valuations of cases. Some insurance companies attempt to resolve cases too cheaply, negotiations break down, and we may to file a lawsuit.  This will initiate the formal legal process.
  7. Discovery Phase. Perhaps the most time consuming and difficult part of litigation involves discovery, where the parties exchange information that might be relevant to claims or defenses. Because the injured party (plaintiff) has the burden of proof, they are required to provide information showing what the defendant did wrong, what injuries the plaintiff sustained, how the injuries have impacted the plaintiff’s life, and other information relevant to the claim. The plaintiff will also need to identify expert witnesses, typically medical experts, to identify injuries and explain how the crash in question caused the injuries. Discovery can typically occur through various mechanisms, including interrogatories, document requests, depositions, requests for admission, medical examinations, and subpoenas.
  8. Mediation or Settlement Talks. Before going to trial, parties may decide to mediate engage in other forms of settlement discussions. Mediations have high success rates, but it is important to make sure the defendant and their insurance company are serious about settling for an appropriate amount of money before agreeing to mediate a case.  Otherwise, the mediation can be unsuccessful and discouraging.
  9. Trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial. Both sides present their evidence, and a judge or jury determines the outcome. Whether a judge or jury decides the case typically depends on the size of the case.  Smaller cases will often be brought before a judge for a quicker resolution, while larger claims should be brought before a jury.  The jury will record its decision on a piece of paper called the verdict form.

Every case is different, and it is important that you find an attorney and law firm who will uncover and understand the unique aspects of your case. Contact experienced personal injury attorney Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at 434-817-3100 if you or a loved one have been injured and you seek legal answers.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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