Personal injury cases are generally unique and may not always follow the same timeline as other injury claims. Generally, it may take just a few months to settle your case, or it may take as long as two years or even longer. Each case may vary, primarily based upon the extent of injuries and the complexity of your case.
Depending on the timeline for your recovery, your case may be delayed as you learn more about the extent of your injuries, the estimated cost of your medical expenses, the need for future treatment, and other related factors. If the accident was minor and your injuries were not severe, your case may take less time to settle. Generally, your lawyer may not make this settlement demand or take your case to trial until you have reached your point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
The complexity of your case often impacts the length of time your claim may take. For example, if the accident was fairly straight-forward, and the other party admits fault for causing the accident, their insurer may agree quickly to a fair settlement offer. However, more complex cases may take up to one or two years or even longer to resolve. Other factors that may make your case more complex include if there are multiple parties potentially liable for your injuries, complicated insurance issues, or medical malpractice, which may require expert witnesses to review your case.
The length of your case may also be impacted by how willing the other party’s insurance company is to cooperate with your attorney in negotiating an acceptable settlement offer to avoid the time and expense of a trial. If your case goes to trial, it may often take months to get a trial date set, while the actual trial may only take one or two days or as long as one or two weeks. Finally, if the trial result is appealed, your case may take even longer before you can receive compensation.
Hiring a Lawyer
Consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer is often the most essential step of the personal injury case, which may determine your potential claim’s success. After hiring an attorney, your lawyer may discuss your legal options and may begin to investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim.
Before filing a lawsuit, your lawyer may negotiate with the insurance adjuster to settle your claim without the need for filing a lawsuit, especially in cases where your injuries are relatively minor, and the other party’s liability is clear.
Filing a Lawsuit
Unless the insurer agrees to a settlement, your lawyer may then file a personal injury lawsuit to seek any compensation you may be entitled to. Depending on the nature of your accident, each state establishes legal time limits, called a statute of limitations, which sets forth the time frame you have in which to file any potential lawsuit.
After filing a lawsuit, the discovery phase will generally begin. Your attorney will request evidence and information from the other party or their insurer while answering questions and requests for information or evidence received from the other party.
After the discovery phase ends, your lawyer may negotiate with the other party or insurer to potentially reach a settlement and avoid trial. This negotiation phase may involve offers and counteroffers between the sides until a settlement is reached. If the insurer does not agree to an acceptable compromise, your lawyer may take your case to trial.
Typically, your lawyer will consider a few critical questions in deciding whether you may have a case. These questions usually focus on the evidence, if negligent behavior cased your injuries, and if you suffered harm:
For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver or a driver who ran a red light, this may be evidence of negligence that means you have a case.
This could require showing that none of your injuries would have happened if the other party had not behaved negligently and caused the accident.
Medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering all help satisfy this element of a personal injury claim.
Ultimately, to know whether you may have a personal injury case, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer like Michael J. Brennan to discuss your accident and whether you may have a case. Get started with your case review, today.