When you’re injured because of another person’s negligence or recklessness, you have the right to seek just compensation by filing a personal injury claim. Although every case is different, much of the process remains the same. Below are some of the critical milestones to expect as your case moves forward.

How a Personal Injury Case Progresses

1. Investigation

Consult with an attorney to determine if you have a viable personal injury case. After the initial consultation, if the attorney decides to take the case they will proceed with their independent investigation. They will gather evidence, and may obtain information such as police reports, interviews, photographs, video footage, medical records, employment history and lost wage information to prove your claim and establish the other party’s liability.

2. Sending of Demand

Your attorney will then send a settlement demand.  In most cases that demand will be to the negligent party’s insurance carrier. The demand will assert your theory of liability and will put forth your claim for damages.  A typical demand includes a claim for economic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages and will include all supporting documentation.  It will also include a demand for other intangible losses, such as loss of quality of life and mental pain and suffering.  The other party, or the other party’s attorney or insurance company will review the demand and draft a response.  They will either accept, reject, or make a counteroffer.

3. Filing the Petition

personal injuryIf settlement negotiations fall through, you will proceed with filing a lawsuit. Your attorney will file a petition in the proper court, outlining your claims. The petition is the first official document in the case and serves to notify the defendant of the lawsuit, requiring them to respond within a period.  The defendant must be served with this petition.

4. Discovery or Fact-Finding

Sometimes called pre-trial litigation, this is the phase where both parties will exchange relevant case facts and information from each other. Discovery is the systematic process for disclosing all data before the trial to prevent surprises during the trial. As this stage progresses, both sides may appear in court for pre-trial hearings to determine whether certain evidence gathered will be admissible at trial.

5. Settlement or Trial

Settlement can happen anytime during the case progression but most often occurs before the trial begins. Mediation is usually encouraged by the judge after discovery is completed. However, negotiations are not always successful and sometimes a trial is necessary.  


Do you have a case for personal injury? Let the attorneys of Allen, Nelson & Wilson guide you throughout the process. With offices in Columbia and Springfield, MO, they’ve offered top-notch legal counsel and representation to clients across central and southwest Missouri. Request a no-cost consultation with an accident attorney at (573) 441-2667, or visit their website.