How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
If you have recently been in an accident, you probably have so many questions running through your mind, and it can be overwhelming to find a place to begin. If your accident was due to someone else's negligent actions, you likely have a personal injury case and should hire a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers deal with auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, premises liability/slip and fall claims, work-related injuries, and medical malpractice lawsuits. They are your best chance at winning your legal claim because they are highly skilled in dealing with these types of complex injury claims.
If you are in search of an experienced injury attorney to represent you in this difficult time, contact the personal injury attorneys at Helping the Hurt for a free consultation. Let them take care of everything so you can focus on your recovery.
Table of Contents:
- What Is the Average Amount of Time To Settle a Personal Injury Case?
- Reasons You Shouldn't Take the First Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company
- How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
- What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
- Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for My Lawsuit?
What Is the Average Amount of Time To Settle a Personal Injury Case?
After your accident, the big question is, how long will it take to settle the claim so you can pay for your medical bills? Many factors affect the timeline of your case. Our injury lawyers can look at the components of your case and give you a rough timeline estimate.
You could go for the quick settlement, which would be as fast as a couple of weeks if you take the first offer from the insurance adjuster. Most law firms will advise against taking the first bid. Yes, this can draw out your case's timeline of events, but depending on the severity of injuries and the extent of damages, it may be the best.
When you hire an attorney, you do not have to worry about getting your medical bills paid right away. The attorney will file a medical lien against your settlement, meaning the medical providers have to provide you with medical care even though you cannot pay for it right away.
When going through extensive treatment, your case could take a year or more to settle. If your injuries are minor, expect a shorter timeline. Again, the typical timeline of your settlement is dependent on your case's unique situation.
Reasons You Shouldn't Take the First Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company
When the insurance company reaches out to you the first time, it is best not to say much to them. Tell the insurance adjuster that you have hired a lawyer, and they will now be the point of contact for your accident claim.
If you have never had to deal with insurance companies in the past, you may not be aware of all the tricks they have up their sleeve. There are many things you could accidentally say over the phone to hurt your case.
The insurance companies will always try to protect their own interests and only pay out the minimum amount they are required to compensate by law. During the first settlement talks, the initial offer typically benefits the insurer. They will entice you just enough with the initial offer because they will do anything to keep the case from going to civil court. They know you need the financial compensation for medical bills, which is your "easy way out."
When you accept the insurance company's settlement offer, you are required to sign a contract, prohibiting you from demanding more money from the accident at a later date. Afterward, you could learn that you have suffered more extensive injuries than you had initially thought, and those costs would not have been factored into the original settlement. You would then have to pay the expenses for treatment out of pocket.
This is why you should always consult with an experienced injury attorney first. Accident victims have a number of options when dealing with the at-fault party's insurance.
How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
Here's a summary of the various types of compensatory damages, which are standard in many personal injury cases:
Property Loss or Damage
Property damage refers to a damaged vehicle and the personal property inside the vehicle. Included in the settlement are repairs or a total replacement of all items.
All personal injury lawsuits will have medical care connected with the accident injury claim. This includes reimbursement for treatment already received as well as the approximate costs of future medical visits.
Loss of Income
If your wages were affected by the accident, you might be entitled to compensation. This includes income lost due to the accident and income that you would have been able to make in the future if not for the accident. This is called the "loss of earning capacity."
Pain and Suffering
If you experience ongoing pain from the accident or are experiencing limitations to your daily life, then you qualify for receiving payment for pain and suffering. This includes the psychological impact such as anxiety, fear, sleep loss, and emotional distress.
Loss of Enjoyment
When your crash-related injuries keep you from enjoying day-to-day activities like exercise, hobbies, and interests, you could be eligible to receive damages.
Loss of Consortium
These special damages refer to the accident injury victim's relationship with a spouse. This includes loss of companionship or the ability to maintain any intimacy in the relationship. Some states also consider the relationship between a parent and a child. Sometimes the damages can be granted directly to the family member.In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to the plaintiff. This claim for damages is due to the defendant acting particularly heinous or is excessively careless. An example of this is if you were in a car accident with a drunk driver. The judge could order the defendant to pay punitive damages to punish them or sway them from causing a similar accident ever again.
What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury claim is a standard label for what is actually a lawsuit for negligence through the civil courts. The stages and procedures for these cases have been developed over the centuries in the courts.
The main stages of a case are; the initial consultation, filing court documents, discovery, pretrial motions and hearings, filing reports from expert witnesses, requesting trial dates, settlement negotiations, trial, collecting the settlement, and post-trial motions and appeals.
After you've made the wise decision to meet with a lawyer, you will receive a free consultation. Almost all personal injury law firms, including Helping the Hurt, offer a free-of-charge examination of your case details. During this initial consultation, you will give your lawyer all of the specifics of your accident, such as details gathered at the accident scene and the bills and injuries you sustained. Your attorney may also ask you a list of questions to help them better understand how they can assist you. An outstanding personal injury attorney has excellent relationships with medical professionals in their area.
They will also discuss their settlement percentage. You would not have to pay this fee out of pocket. Accident attorneys with Helping the Hurt do not get paid unless you win your case. This is called working on contingency. You know your attorney will work tirelessly for you because they need to win the case to get paid. Even if you lose at trial, your lawyer will not collect any payment from you for completed work.
Filing Court Documents
If you decide with your lawyer that you would like to file a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will take care of the paperwork for you. You will be suing the at-fault party. This document will state what the legal basis is for holding the defendant liable for their actions.
After both sides file documents with the courts, the involved parties will be in discovery. They are required to exchange evidence with each other. Both parties will submit a list of questions to the other side and request certain documents. This includes medical bills, photos of the accident, sworn statements, and witness testimony. The lawyers may also seek out medical experts or accident reconstruction experts for their professional testimony.
Pretrial Motions and Hearings
Lawyers can use pretrial motions to pressure the other side to release evidence or to dismiss the case if they uncover damaging evidence on the other party.
Lawyers typically want to reach a settlement before a case goes to trial. During a settlement, the defendant agrees to pay, and the plaintiff agrees to release the defendant from responsibility.
The plaintiff will begin the settlement process by making a demand for compensation. The defendant will either agree or reply with a lower offer. The role of the mediator is to make sure both sides reach an agreement. This entire process can go on for a significant amount of time.
If the injured party and the party at fault fail to reach an agreement, the personal injury lawsuit will go to trial. If the jury finds the defendant liable, they will determine the amount in damages.
It's important to note, most personal injury claims settle out of court. However, if a case goes to trial, it is crucial to have a seasoned personal injury attorney representing you.
Collecting Your Judgment or Settlement
After the personal injury trial or settlement, your personal injury attorney will gather and distribute your funds with their percentage taken out. They will also pay the medical bills under the medical lien.
Post-Trial Motions and Appeals
If you win your settlement at trial, the defendant can file a post-trial motion to reduce the amount they have to pay you. They may also pursue an appeal to determine if there were any legal errors in the case. The defendant must file an appeal in a higher court of appeals.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for My Lawsuit?
Contacting an attorney immediately after an accident is your best chance at getting your case settled in a timely manner. Personal injury attorneys are extremely knowledgeable about the court system.
If you want to receive fair compensation for your accident injuries, physical pain, and emotional pain, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Helping the Hurt.