How long will my personal injury lawsuit take?
It’s difficult to determine how long it will take to resolve a personal injury lawsuit. Each case is unique; therefore, no general timetable can be established for personal injury cases. A personal injury lawsuit may settle in a few months without the need for a trial, while others can take years to complete.
How soon should I file a lawsuit?
You should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. Injury victims only have a short period of time to file a claim. Failure to file within this time period, known as the statute of limitations, can bar the victim from ever recovering compensation for their injuries.
Do I need a lawyer?
The Insurance Research Council reports that, on average, people who retain personal injury lawyers receive almost three times more money than people who don’t use lawyers.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses in a billion-dollar industry. They have adjusters and legal teams dedicated to protecting their profits by paying injury victims as little as possible. Once you settle with an insurance company, it is almost impossible to go back later and get more money. While many factors can affect the amount of a reward, without a lawyer you risk not getting the full amount you need to cover your expenses.
How much money will I get?
The monetary value of your claim depends on several factors, such as:
- The type and extent of your injuries
- Your total current and future accident-related medical expenses
- Your current and future lost income due to disability or injury
- Your level of pain and suffering
How soon should I hire an attorney?
What is the entire process?
Lawyer Investigates Claim and Reviews Medical Records
The first thing that the lawyer will do is thoroughly interview you about how the accident happened, your background, and your medical condition and medical treatment. The lawyer wants to know everything that you know about the accident and your injury and treatment. Lawyers don’t want to be surprised, so make sure to answer all questions as completely as you can.
Lawyer Considers Making Demand and Negotiating
Many smaller personal injury claims are settled before a lawsuit is ever filed. If the lawyer thinks that the case can be settled, they will make a demand to the other attorney or the other side’s insurance company.
Otherwise, your lawyer will file the lawsuit. In general, if your claim involves a claim of permanent injury or impairment, a good lawyer will not settle it before filing suit.
The Lawsuit is Filed
The filing of the lawsuit starts the clock running on when the case might get to trial. Every state’s pretrial procedures are different, but generally it will take one to two years for a personal injury case to get to trial. Keep in mind that a lawsuit needs to be filed within strict time limits that every state has set by passing a law called a statute of limitations.
The Discovery Process
The discovery process is the procedure in which each party investigates what the adversary’s legal claims and defenses are. They send interrogatories (a fancy word for questions) and document requests to each other, and take depositions of all of the relevant witnesses in the case, generally beginning with the plaintiff and defendant. This process can last six months to a year, depending on the court’s deadlines and the complexity of the case.
Mediation and Negotiation
As the discovery period ends, the lawyers will generally start talking about settlement. Sometimes the lawyers can settle a case just by talking among themselves, but, in other cases, they will go to mediation. Mediation is a process in which both clients and both lawyers go in front of a mediator to try to settle the case.
Often mediation works, but, if it doesn’t work, the case is scheduled for trial. A personal injury trial can last a day, a week, or even longer. The length may be increased because, in many states, trials are held for only half a day instead of over a full day. That doubles the length of a trial, but also lets the lawyers and judges get other things done in the afternoon.