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The Timeline of a Case According to a Portland Personal Injury Lawyer

The Timeline of a Case According to a Portland Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury accidents occur regularly, but they almost never happen expectedly. Whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall accident, or another type of accident, these incidents have the potential to cause severe harm to victims and their loved ones.

While no two personal injury cases will adhere to the same steps – considering each involves a unique set of facts and circumstances – there is a general process that most will follow. The remaining sections will describe the rough timeline of a case according to a Portland personal injury lawyer.

The Timeline of a Personal Injury Case in Portland

Ultimately, most Portland personal injury cases will resolve via a settlement agreement – the vast majority will not make it to court. However, sometimes it is in the victim’s best interest to bring a case to court, as it could increase their bargaining power and lead to a more favorable outcome. The steps outlined below take into account these considerations and many others.

The Accident and the Immediate Aftermath

Technically speaking, a personal injury case begins with an accident or situation that causes the victim harm. Once the accident occurs, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as:

  • The victim should seek prompt medical attention. Medical records could serve as crucial evidence to the success of any eventual compensation claims.
  • It is important not to accept blame or apologize for the accident as the victim, as doing so could hurt the value of the claim.
  • If appropriate, such as in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to call 911 and make the proper authorities aware of the situation. A police report cannot be used as evidence, as it will likely be considered hearsay by a court, but it could still prove helpful in other ways.
  • If possible, the victim should take photos and videos of the accident scene. It may also be beneficial to collect contact information from any eyewitnesses. These things can serve as additional evidence.

From there, the victim should consult with a Portland personal injury attorney to learn about whether they have a case and what their legal options are. Ideally, the victim should speak with a lawyer prior to speaking with an insurance company or the at-fault party.

The Initial Investigation

Assuming the victim has a case and has hired a lawyer, the attorney and the rest of their legal team will undertake an internal investigation into the situation. During that investigation, they can gather additional evidence (sometimes with the assistance of experts), fully evaluate the victim’s damages, and identify any liable parties. 

Demand Letter and Negotiations

Once the Portland personal injury lawyer understands the accident and their client’s damages to a sufficient degree, they will usually then send a demand letter to the at-fault party or, most often, to their insurer. Their insurance company will assign an adjuster to the claim who will review the letter and the situation. 

Next, the insurance company will respond to the demand letter, either accepting liability and offering a settlement amount or will reject liability. In almost every case, even if the company accepts liability, it will offer an amount that is less than what the claim is actually worth

Negotiations will then ensue between the attorney and the insurance company. Several steps may take place during this time, such as further evidence collecting, depositions, and more. Many personal injury cases will reach a final outcome at this point, assuming the attorney and the at-fault party are able to arrive at a fair settlement agreement.

Filing a Lawsuit, Pretrial Procedures

If the two sides cannot agree to a settlement, it may become best to file a lawsuit and bring the case to court. 

One major reason why this may be the case is that filing a lawsuit will allow the Portland personal injury lawyer to undertake the pretrial discovery process. During pretrial discovery, the attorney can potentially gather further information and evidence in support of the compensation claim. Other pretrial procedures may also take place, such as pretrial motions and hearings.

More broadly, the threat of trial can also increase the personal injury victim’s bargaining power with the other side. Litigation can involve significant time and resources, which the at-fault party may not be willing to dedicate to the situation. 

Instead, they may be persuaded to offer an adequate settlement amount, as a case can still settle during these procedures.


If the two parties still cannot resolve the dispute via a settlement agreement, the case may make it all the way to trial. Cases usually do not make it this far, even once a lawsuit has been filed.

The trial will be heard in front of a judge, and a jury will usually make the ultimate determination as to whether the at-fault party is liable for the victim’s damages. If the jury finds the at-fault party liable, they will then largely determine what amount of money to award to the victim. Virtually every case will reach a final outcome at this point.

Hiring an Experienced Portland Personal Injury Attorney Can Make All the Difference

Personal injury cases can vary widely in how they develop and conclude. While most will settle before making it to the courtroom – let alone all the way to trial – it can be helpful to hold those possibilities above the at-fault party’s head, so to speak.

As a result, it is almost always worth the victim’s time to reach out to a lawyer to schedule a free case review. This is to ensure that they understand their legal rights and options, as well as whether hiring an attorney makes sense for them and their circumstances. 

Hiring an experienced Portland personal injury lawyer at Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer can significantly increase the value of the victim’s claim. Further, most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations to go over the victim’s accident situation.

As lawyers in this area of the law generally work on contingency, they won’t be able to take on the case unless it makes sense for everyone involved. Give us a call at (503) 773-3333.

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