When you file a personal injury claim in Oregon, your top priority is to secure compensatory damages and recover from your losses. To obtain this compensation, you and your attorney will need to navigate a series of important steps and prove that the at-fault party is responsible for your injuries. Depending on the complexity of your case, it can take a year or longer for your lawsuit to reach a conclusion. Although this process can be lengthy, it is necessary to recover the compensation you deserve.
Your first step after any accident should be to seek medical attention. Not only will this treatment help you recover from your injuries, but your medical records will provide valuable evidence in your future case. Even if you do not feel hurt, you should seek medical attention—you may have underlying injuries you are not aware of, and failure to receive treatment could harm your case’s credibility.
After receiving treatment, you will need to consult with a personal injury lawyer about your claim. Your attorney will evaluate your case and explain your legal options. If he or she believes you have grounds for a lawsuit, your attorney will wait for you to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before filing your claim. At this stage, you and your lawyer will better understand the extent of your injuries and can accurately issue a demand.
While you recover from your injuries, your attorney will conduct an in-depth investigation into your claim. He or she will evaluate all available evidence, estimate your damages, and begin compiling information to create an initial demand. Once you reach MMI, your attorney may send an initial demand letter to the at-fault party.
This demand letter will detail your claims, the remedies you are seeking, and your intent to file a lawsuit. The at-fault party can choose to enter into negotiations with you and your lawyer. If these negotiations are successful, your case will conclude at this stage. If these negotiations are unsuccessful or you choose not to pursue an initial demand, your case will move into the litigation phase.
Your attorney will then file your personal injury lawsuit in Oregon civil court. After you file the claim, you and the at-fault party will enter the discovery phase. During discovery, you and the at-fault party will exchange questions, review each other’s documents and evidence, and take depositions of relevant parties and witnesses. The discovery process can last between six months to one year, depending on the complexity of your case.
Before your case enters trial, you and the at-fault party can choose to engage in another round of negotiations or mediation. If your case successfully resolves in mediation or negotiation, you will receive a settlement and you will not need to go to trial. If you choose not to pursue this process or if these discussions are unsuccessful, your case will proceed to the courtroom.
During the trial, a court will review the evidence and listen to attorneys’ arguments. This trial can last a day, a week, or longer, depending on the complexity of your case. At the conclusion of your trial, the court will decide whether you should receive compensation and how much your award should be.
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in Oregon, you need an attorney on your side. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your optimal path to maximum compensation.