When faced with a personal injury claim, many people ask about the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit. In fact, it’s often the first question they ask.
Whether the person is worried about being tied up in legal proceedings longer than they’d like or concerned about receiving their recovery sooner rather than later, everyone wants to know how long it will take to resolve their personal injury claim.
Unfortunately, there is no straight answer. The timeline of a personal injury claim depends on several factors.
The Steps of Personal Injury Lawsuit
Because the duration of a personal injury lawsuit varies, it’s easier to explain the steps in a personal injury lawsuit to give you an idea of how long it may take to resolve a personal injury claim.
If your personal injury attorney is experienced, he will not evaluate your case for settlement purposes until your medical treatment is complete. That being said, the duration of your medical treatment is a huge factor in the timeline of your personal injury case. The longer the treatment, the longer it will take to resolve your claim. However, generally speaking, the more treatment you receive, the higher the potential value of your claim.
If your personal injury case is a straightforward slip and fall or car accident with minor injuries, you may be able to handle the situation on your own. BUT, if it’s anything more than a simple claim, consult with and hire an attorney who you trust to fight for you and stand by you through the process of your personal injury lawsuit.
Collection and Evaluation of Records
Once your medical treatment is complete, your attorney will have all of your medical records and bills to evaluate them for settlement purposes. Your attorney will then write a Demand Letter to the insurance company to make an initial settlement demand and set out the basis for the demand.
Negotiations with the Insurance Company
Next, after sending the Demand Letter to the insurance company and allowing the insurance company a short period of time to review the Demand Letter, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance adjuster. If the case can be settled with the adjuster, then the case is settled. If not, a personal injury lawsuit is filed.
The litigation phase is another large factor in the timeline of your case. Generally, once the lawsuit is filed, it can take up to two years before your personal injury case gets to trial. Keep in mind that you have a time limit to take legal action, also known as the “statute of limitations.” This time limit depends on state law and other factors and is one of the many reasons to act quickly following your personal injury. It’s not a college essay deadline, and there is no slack if you’re slightly late!
Next, each party investigates the adversary’s legal claims and defenses in the discovery phase. This is when each party will ask written questions, send document requests, and take depositions of relevant witnesses. Depending on the deadlines of the court and the complexities of your case, the discovery phase can last from six months to a year or longer.
Negotiations and Mediation
Oftentimes, after the discovery phase, the attorneys may begin negotiating and talking about settlement. Sometimes they can settle the case by themselves, but other times a mediator is needed to reach a mutually satisfactory solution. If your case isn’t settled in this step, it will go to trial.
In the trial, a judge or jury will examine the evidence to decide whether or not the defendant should be held legally responsible for your injuries. A personal injury trial can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Trials are rescheduled due to scheduling conflicts with the judge and various other reasons all the time, so don’t worry if your trial gets delayed.
Your Injury, Your Recovery
All in all, the timeline of your personal injury case will depend on your accident, injuries, and medical treatment. No case is the same. Minor personal injury cases are often resolved fairly quickly, while more severe injuries can take over a year to settle. The best way to ensure that your personal injury case is settled, and you receive the recovery you deserve as quickly as possible is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
Contact Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys
Mark Petro of Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys has built a reputation of being the go-to guy to get injury claims handled in a manner that maximizes the amount of recovery so that you get what you deserve sooner rather than later. Call Mark and let us fight for you!