The priority is to obtain the best possible outcome. It is important to be careful. Rushing the process can leave you short. Settling quickly or at an early stage could result in a lower claim. The first offer is not necessarily the best offe. Sometimes the matter needs to press on until the best possible result is obtained.
Every case is different and different approaches work better in different situations. Strategy, experience and good team work are important to obtaining a great result.
A compensation or injury claim is called a 'negligence' claim. Negligence must be established for an injury, damages, or compensation claim to succeed. This means we need to establish that someone owed you a duty of care that was breached, and that the injury you suffered is a direct result of that breach. A breach can be something that was done that shouldn’t have been; or something that should have been done, that wasn’t. There is a lot of case law (decisions made by Judges) and legislation that guides us and judges in figuring out whether in your situation, a duty of care exists. The law also guides us about the standard of care that is owed in various situations and whether that has been met. Negligence is an interesting, complicated and evolving area of law. There are many critical time limits that apply to making a claim so we advise seeing a lawyer as soon as possible.
To you, the process usually looks a little like this:
Call us to make an appointment to meet at our office or at your place.
We listen to your story and advise you about a possible claim.
If you engage us as your lawyer we give you a firm estimate of costs and likely outcome. No fees are payable unless your claim is successful. Our fees are reasonable.
We start by drafting and lodging various documents to commence and build your case. You will see Doctors for medico legal examinations so that reports can be made. (Sometimes other reports are obtained. - eg. engineers, etc.) There will a number of appointments with us as the matter progresses and gets closer to a negotiation stage. A barristers is engaged for you and expert witnesses will be consulted.
Compulsory negotiations commence and a compulsory exchange of offers is made.
You attend a compulsory conference with us and your barrister.
If your matter settles at the compulsory conference/negotiation stage, your matter completes when settlement money is received.
If your matter doesn’t settle at the compulsory conference/negotiation stage, we prepare for a more formal compulsory mediation conference. If this does not settle, we then prepare for your matter to be heard by a Judge in Court. A determination of negligence and an order for damages is made by a judge. Your matter then completes when settlement money is received.
The length of time that it takes to finalise an accident claim depends upon many factors including whether further surgery is necessary and how long it takes for injuries to stabilise. If negotiation and mediation result in a settlement and a court case is avoided, the time will be much shorter and the fees are much less. These are all things a lawyer will discuss with you.