How long does it take for a personal injury case to be resolved?
If you were injured, whether in a car accident, as the result of medical malpractice, or as a result of some other form of negligence, you might consider filing a personal injury case to cover the costs associated with your injuries.
Speak with an Attorney
A consultation with a personal injury attorney will help you determine if your case is one that will require an attorney – some cases can be fairly settled by an insurance company, although plaintiffs that hire an attorney generally receive substantially higher settlements – and will give you an idea of how much time it may take for your case to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
It is important to be aware that in some cases, it could take months or even years for a case to settle, especially if the defendant’s insurance company balks at paying what you and your attorney consider to be a fair settlement and your attorney decides to take your case to trial.
No matter the type of accident or injury, it’s important to try to stay calm to prevent stress and anxiety from causing you to miss critical steps that can provide the evidence your attorney needs to secure your case.
Medical records, witness statements, photographs, and other evidence can help your attorney build a satisfactory case, one that will cover medical bills and other expenses. Personal injury cases hinge on evidence, and having the necessary records from the start can speed the process along, at least to a point.
Once you’ve hired an attorney – personal injury lawyers work on contingency and will take a percentage of your settlement as their fee – the process, detailed and arduous as it can be, will begin.
Your attorney will review your case along with medical records to determine the extent of your injuries and the type of care – physical therapy, for example – you will need in order to recover from those injuries.
Your lawyer’s investigation will include an interview with you to get as many details as possible about your injury, your own personal history – in medical malpractice suits, for example, virtually everything about you becomes public record, and this is something you should prepare for – and any preexisting medical conditions that may play a role in your injury.
Ask for a Settlement
After establishing your case, your attorney will first issue a demand for a settlement from the defendant’s insurance company.
If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will begin to prepare for a court trial. While many cases settle before they reach court, those that do go to court because of an insurance company’s unwillingness to offer a fair settlement will require a great deal of evidence gathering, including hiring expert witnesses and taking witness depositions, as well as entering ongoing negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company in hopes of settling before court.
The process is time-consuming because of these details, which are necessary in order to present a solid case to a jury.
On average, once a case is set for trial it takes approximately 18 months – more if all parties cannot find a mutually agreeable spot on the court docket – for your case to reach completion.