If you are part of an accident resulting in personal injuries, you deserve compensation for your injuries and other damages. Obtaining compensation ensures your needs are fully addressed as you recover. The best action is to get proper medical treatment and hire an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer to handle the case.
How long does a personal injury legal case take? It depends on many factors, including the state where the litigation occurs, the amount of compensation involved, and legal issues. Some cases take a couple of years to reach trial and settlement.
Personal Injury Legal Case Process
Understanding the litigation process involved in personal injury cases will help you determine how long your claim may take. It’s not advisable to settle a personal injury legal case before fully recovering. The courts certainly won’t settle your case if there are legal issues. Here’s an overview of the personal injury case process:
1. Receiving Medication
You should get medical treatment immediately after an accident causing personal injuries. A higher percentage of personal injury claims goes into paying for medical bills and lost income. Make sure you obtain all medical records and receipts, as these documents will be used to negotiate your compensation. It’s essential to get proper medical examination and treatment for all bodily injuries suffered.
2. Consulting a Lawyer
As you continue to receive treatment, you can engage a motor vehicle accident lawyer to begin assessing your case. Personal injury cases may go to trial, and you’ll need an experienced attorney to help you negotiate deserved compensation. The lawyer will gather evidence and witnesses to prove your innocence in the accident. Personal injury lawyers will also examine all medical records and other aspects to ensure you get compensation for all damages.
3. Settlement Negotiation
Your insurance company will deploy a team of attorneys to evaluate the case and determine the company’s liability and settlement. Most insurance carriers seek to pay the least compensation or avoid it altogether. It’s your lawyer’s job to provide substantial evidence and negotiate the proper settlement. Insurance companies and at-fault drivers agree to settle out of court in some cases. In others, the case goes to trial and is decided in court.
4. Lawsuit Filing
Cases that go to litigation will require filing a personal injury lawsuit with the appropriate civil court. States have unique pre-trial procedures and requirements, but you should expect the case to reach trial some time after filing the lawsuit. Your lawyer will file a civil suit within the set deadlines and limitation statutes. It’s crucial to work with experienced personal injury lawyers to file a compelling case.
5. Discovery & Mediation
The discovery phase allows plaintiff and defendant lawyers to investigate what each party has, the evidence, and legal arguments. Your lawyer may send a list of questions and take depositions from witnesses. This phase can take up to six months. Mediation may be necessary if negotiations break down between your lawyer and the defendant or insurance company. A neutral party (mediator) will be appointed to help resolve the case.
6. Case Trial
The case will get scheduled for trial if the two parties reach a resolution, usually after mediation. Some cases don’t require mediation, so the case will go to trial after the discovery phase. Personal injury trials can last a day, week, or month, depending on the case. It’s advisable to start the trial on the scheduled day.
Some cases may be delayed, especially when judges have tight schedules and more court cases.
Why Some Cases Take Longer to Settle
Depending on the state, negotiation breakdowns, and other factors, a typical personal injury case can take up to one or two years to resolve. Some claims take much longer to reach trial, and others never get resolved. Here are popular factors that may increase the time needed to settle your personal injury case:
a) Legal Issues
If one or more witnesses give disparate accounts that suggest your liability for the accident, the insurance company won’t offer a reasonable settlement. Doctors may also hesitate to link the injuries with the accident. It’s upon your lawyer to gather sufficient evidence to prove no liability for the accident and provide evidence for all damages. In some cases, gathering this evidence takes longer than usual.
b) Huge Money Compensations
Some personal injury cases involve huge monetary settlements, and the defendant may not have the means to pay large sums. Insurance companies and their attorneys will also do due diligence and exhaust all avenues before paying huge compensations. Most only pay if they don’t have an excellent defense to attack your credibility. Some insurers also delay cases to trick you into giving up and settling for less.
c) Yet to Reach MMI
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) refers to the maximum recovery. It means you are as recovered as you are going to get. If you are still receiving medical treatment, it’s advisable to wait until you’ve achieved MMI to claim compensation. Some injuries require several months, while others recover in a few weeks. You should wait until fully recovering to accurately determine the full extent of the injuries and impacts on your life.
Working With a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
You can settle a personal injury case quickly out of court or go to trial. Some victims of motor vehicle accidents can’t afford to pay medical bills and sustain daily expenses, so they end up settling quickly. Unfortunately, quick settlements may not cover the full extent of your damages, and it’s harder to seek further compensation once the case closes.
If you are part of a crash resulting in personal injuries, it’s best not to rush things. Hiring an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you exhaust the case. The goal is to bargain the deserved settlement for your injuries and other compensatory damages. An accident victim suffers more than just bodily injuries.
Other compensatory damages include pain and suffering, present/future loss of income, and property loss. You can also claim compensation for emotional distress and loss of enjoyment/consortium. Other courts also direct at-fault drivers to pay punitive damages. Working with a lawyer will ensure you receive the right settlement.
At Ping an Attorney, we connect injured parties to experienced attorneys to help recover damages when you are not at fault. Accidents can have life-changing impacts, and it’s crucial to get a settlement for any bodily injuries and damages you incur because of the event. We can link you with qualified motor vehicle accident attorneys to assess and take over your case for maximum settlement.