What Is Personal Injury Pre-Action Protocol?

Are you filing a personal injury claim in Arizona civil court? Your attorney will have to engage in a personal injury pre-action protocol to help facilitate the process. You can settle your claim without engaging in the lengthy courtroom process if the pre-action protocol goes smoothly.

The Importance of the Pre-Action Protocol

The pre-action protocol helps you and your personal injury attorney reach a settlement without going through with lengthy courtroom proceedings. During this process, you and the at-fault party, along with your respective attorneys, will sit down and discuss the circumstances of your case.

Courts can be unpredictable and you may not receive the settlement you desire when you enter that legal process. When you go through the pre-action protocol, you can negotiate for the settlement you want on your terms. If you do not reach an agreement with the at-fault party, you will enter court proceedings.

Another benefit of the pre-action protocol is that it ensures that all information is in order prior to reaching the courtroom. Messy, disorganized, and poorly researched cases can take a long time to reach a settlement. With a pre-action protocol, you and your attorney ensure that the case is in order.

The Stages of Personal Injury Pre-Action Protocol

Like courtroom proceedings, pre-action protocols follow a series of steps to reach a settlement negotiation.

  • First, your attorney will notify the at-fault party of your intent to file a claim as soon as possible. This notification will help your defendant acknowledge your claim prior to the letter of claim.
  • Next, your attorney will send a letter of claim to the at-fault party, his or her attorney, and/or his or her insurance company. This letter will include great detail about the case and your claim, including a description of your injuries and the losses you intend to claim. The at-fault party will investigate the claim and determine his or her potential liability.
  • After your attorney sends the letter of claim, the at-fault party will issue a response. He or she will supply any additional information important to the claim, as well as a description of his or her version of events. If the at-fault party does not respond, you can proceed with courtroom actions.
  • After you and your attorney receive a response, the investigation phase begins. The at-fault party and his or her attorney will investigate the claim and determine his or her liability. You should receive notification of liability acceptance after this phase is complete. You and your attorney can continue your investigation as well, including interviewing medical experts and reviewing evidence.
  • Next, you and your attorney, along with the at-fault party and his or her lawyers, will meet to negotiate your settlement. You will discuss the facts of your case and clear up any potential issues.
  • If you and the at-fault party can reach a resolution, you will reach a settlement before going to court. If you and the at-fault party cannot reach a resolution or he or she fails to comply with your protocol, you can move straight to court proceedings.

What Goes into the Letter of Claim?

The letter of claim is the most important factor of the pre-action protocol process. Your attorney should include a detailed summary of the facts of the case, including the following details.

  • The basic information of the accident, including the date, place, and what occurred
  • A brief outline of the circumstances of the accident
  • Reasoning as to why you and your attorney are holding the recipient at-fault
  • A description of your injuries and the treatment you received
  • Information about whether you had to miss work and your approximate income, along with your approximate lost wages

If you have not yet obtained an attorney for your personal injury case, contact one as soon as possible to begin the pre-action protocol. The sooner you contact an Arizona attorney, the sooner you can reach the settlement.