Stages of a Personal Injury Case in Oregon

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else, you will likely be able to recover compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. However, the process of securing compensation in a personal injury case can be complicated, and there are various stages of personal injury claims that you need to be aware of.

Working With Insurance Carriers

The vast majority of personal injury claims in Oregon are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. In general, there will be some back and forth between the injury victim and the insurance carrier of the at-fault party, but a settlement will generally help cover medical expenses, lost wages, general out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.

Unfortunately, there are times when insurance carriers and at-fault parties refuse to offer a fair settlement or even deny a claim altogether. When this happens, it may be necessary for the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other party.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Injury victims in Oregon need to their personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date the injury occurred. However, we recommend that victims get started filing their lawsuits as soon as they know that the insurance company is not going to provide an adequate settlement. A skilled Oregon personal injury lawyer will be able to help properly file the lawsuit in civil court.

Discovery Phase of the Lawsuit

After a lawsuit has been filed, the discovery phase of the process will begin. During this phase, attorneys for both sides will have a chance to continue investigations, exchange information with one another, and ask questions of either side. The discovery phase can take some time to complete.

During this phase of the process, it may be necessary for witnesses to sit for depositions. Depositions are the process of those involved in the case answering questions from the opposing counsel under oath.

Continued Negotiations

While the discovery phase of the lawsuit is ongoing, both sides will continue negotiations in an attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement. New information may arise that pushes one side or the other towards a settlement. If a settlement is reached between the parties, the case is essentially over.

Possible Mediation

In some cases, a judge may order both sides to undergo mediation in an attempt to reach a settlement. Both parties can also choose to go through mediation voluntarily. A mediator will be a neutral third-party who comes and attempts to get both sides closer to an agreement. If the mediator gets both sides to agree to a settlement, the case will conclude.

Going to Trial

If neither side reaches a fair agreement, and if mediation fails, the case will proceed to trial. A jury will be chosen, and both the plaintiff and the defendant will have a chance to present their evidence to the jury. After hearing all the evidence, a jury will then decide whether or not the defendant caused the injuries to the plaintiff. If the jury determines that the defendant did cause the plaintiff’s injuries, they will also determine how much compensation the plaintiff will be paid.

Receiving the Payment

After a jury makes its decision, there is a chance that the losing side could file an appeal. However, if an appeal is not filed and a jury rules in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant will be required to send payment to the injury victim. At that point, the case will be over.

The entire personal injury lawsuit process in Portland can take anywhere from one, two, three, or more years to conclude. Settlements usually happen much sooner than this, so we encourage injury victims to work with their attorneys to determine the best steps forward for their case.