Personal Injury Lawyers

What to Expect if You Have Recently Been in an Accident – Part 1
by Michelle Brenwald Klenda Austerman Personal Injury Lawyers

Some personal injury claims can be resolved in the amount of time it takes to pick up the phone, while others can take as long as several years. Many personal injury cases never make it into litigation and typically settle in about a year, depending on the nature of the injuries involved. Understanding the process of how the personal injury lawyers at Klenda Austerman will handle your claim, and the overall process for settling your case, can help resolve the stress you may feel in not knowing what may be next.

The Initial Conference with your Personal Injury Lawyers

After you have reached out and contacted Klenda Austerman law firm, you will be scheduled for an initial conference with one of our personal injury lawyers. You will meet with the personal injury attorney who will be handling your case to review all aspects of your accident, injury, and medical treatment. You should bring all documents you have relating to the injury/accident including accident report, medical records, medical bills, letters from insurance companies, names of witnesses or others involved in the accident, and any other documents that relate to the matter. You should bring a copy of your own auto insurance policy and corresponding insurance policy declarations page. If you are receiving medical treatment and have health insurance, you should also bring a copy of your health insurance information.

The Investigation and Record Gathering

After the initial conference, your personal injury lawyer will begin collecting all of your medical records and medical bills directly from your health care providers. Once gathered, the lawyer, with the assistance of legal staff, will prepare an indexed summary of all of your medical treatment, as well as an index of all of the medical expenses you incurred as a result of the accident. This allows the attorney to properly evaluate the nature of your medical condition and the amount of your potential damage claim. These items are used in preparing a formal written demand package to be sent to the defendant and/or his insurance carrier.

This process usually takes several months. A health insurance provider has at least thirty (30) days to respond to any request for information. Sometimes the lawyer must send out a second follow-up request to get the needed records. It may take up to 45 days thereafter to prepare the itemized indexes. If you are still undergoing treatment, we recommend you continue with such treatment until you reach a point of maximum medical improvement prior to making a demand to the insurance carrier. While you should feel free to reach out to legal counsel shortly after your accident, your medical treatment and overall health and well-being are the most important considerations.

Settlement Brochure

After the initial investigation and record gathering process has been complete, Klenda Austerman will prepare a formal written demand to the defendant and/or his insurance carrier. The demand will consist of a complete written evaluation of liability and damages. It will include detailed legal opinions and explanations of who is at fault for the accident, as well as calculations and evidence showing how much compensation you are entitled to as a result of the accident/injury. In many instances, cases are settled at this stage. Even so, depending on how responsive a defendant or his insurance carrier may be, this step can create its own unique challenges.


If a matter is not resolved after the submission of a settlement brochure, you may decide to pursue litigation. This means that a lawsuit would be filed in your name against the at-fault party. After a suit is filed, a defendant generally has 20 days to file an answer. Shortly thereafter, the court will have a hearing to set deadlines for the parties, as well as a trial date. The court will also designate a period of time called “discovery.” It is during “discovery” that the parties can request information from the opposing side and exchange various documents and evidence that will be used in the trial.

Also during discovery you should anticipate being called to give a deposition. A deposition is a sworn statement that you give under oath. The opposing attorney will have the opportunity to ask you questions about your background, the accident, your medical treatment, and your damages. In most situations, questioning counsel is given a wide range of latitude to ask you questions on a variety of topics, not exclusively those related to the accident.

Trial and Appeal

Your case may be settled at any time during the litigation process. If not settled, your case would proceed to trial wherein a judge or jury would make a decision with respect to who is at fault for the accident, whether you suffered any damages and if so, the extent of those damages. Following the rendering of a verdict, both sides have the option of filing an appeal.

To discuss your personal injury case with one of our attorneys, contact Michelle Brenwald at