How Long Do Personal Injury Cases Take To Be Completed?
Written by Cooper and Friedman on December 30, 2019
A personal injury case generally takes anywhere between one and two years. Several factors influence this timeline, so accurately predicting how much time your case will take is difficult. A complicated case may require more than a year, while a straightforward one may be wrapped up in a matter of months. You must discuss the case with your lawyer in detail to get a more accurate idea about how long it would take. Here’s a brief look at what happens during this process:
1. Medical Treatment First
Victims of personal injury situations must get treatment first because nothing is more important. Delay in treatment can also appear suspicious to an insurance adjuster or a jury. They will assume you weren’t seriously hurt, which could influence the compensation. Get all emergency medical treatment before thinking about hiring a lawyer. While you’re undergoing treatment, don’t speak to opposing party attorneys or ambulance chasers. Getting legal advice can wait for a few days.
2. Getting a Lawyer
Once you’ve recovered reasonably, start looking for legal representation quickly. While it is possible to represent yourself in such cases, hiring an experienced professional is always a better option. Look for experts in the field who have some experience with handling similar cases. For example, a victim of a truck accident will benefit from a lawyer who specializes in large-vehicle accidents.
Some victims handle cases with small injuries without professional assistance. While this is possible, consider your injuries carefully before making a decision. Broken bones, extended hospital stays, medical bills going over a couple of thousand dollars, etc., all add a few complications to a case. Hiring an expert injury attorney is the wisest choice in such situations.
3. Investing Claims and Records
This is probably the most time-consuming aspect of a personal injury case. A lawyer will first ask his or her client a series of questions about the accident, its location, their medical history, long-term effects, costs, medical bills, impact on family, etc. Your attorney will want to know everything that you know.
A lawyer will then approach your medical provider for all treatment records and copies of bills. Your attorney needs details about all treatments provided, including costs, impact on life, future recovery, long-term treatments, short-term care, etc. Collecting this information can take several months.
Your attorney will review every piece of information provided carefully to determine whether you have a case. Lawyers check if there’s enough evidence and whether they can establish liability. While they do need to carry out more investigations, these initial inquiries give experts some idea about a case’s validity.
4. Demands and Negotiations
If your attorney thinks there’s a case, he or she will consider making a demand or filing a lawsuit. Generally speaking, there’s no need to file a suit for small injuries as these matters can be settled outside court. However, if you have sustained severe injuries, the attorney will likely file a lawsuit before even entering into any negotiations.
An experienced professional will not make a demand or file a lawsuit until their client has reached MMI or Maximum Medical Improvement. It is difficult to determine how much compensation a victim needs before that. Most lawyers will wait until their client has reasonably recovered.
Once a lawsuit is filed, things speed up. It can take between one and two years for you to reach a trial. This is followed by a discovery process where both parties investigate all the evidence and arguments filed. This process can take around six months or more if your case is particularly complicated. Both parties engage in mediation and negotiation before the trial starts.
This provides a general idea of how long personal injury cases can take. Each situation is different, so consult with a qualified legal expert on the matter first.
Cooper & Friedman PLLC has been defending the rights of accident victims in Kentucky and Southern Indiana since 1993. When you hire our firm to represent you in an injury case, we will never pass your case off to a paralegal or secretary. Your case will be handled directly by one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. For additional information or a free injury consultation, call 502-459-7555 today.