How Long Should a Personal Injury Lawsuit Last?
As you’re watching medical bills mount, it can make you wonder how long it will take for a personal injury case to be resolved. These types of lawsuits can be complicated and may involve many different parties. But if you have expenses piling up and lost days of work adding up, it can be difficult to be patient. Waiting for compensation when you’ve been injured or have suffered damages is hard, but it’s also not the only option.
Settlement is the fastest way to conclude a personal injury case. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option and isn’t always the best option. Even settling the suit can take six months to three years before any money is awarded.
Find out why personal injury lawsuits might last a long time and what you can do to speed up the process.
Factors that Influence the Duration of Personal Injury Lawsuits
With an experienced lawyer, the stages of a personal injury case should move forward at a steady pace. But there are a few factors which might drag the process out.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
There is a wide range of moving parts involved in the different types of personal injury cases. If one of these components adds friction, it can easily slow the process down. This may happen if an insurance company is involved. Insurance agencies often wait until the lawsuit is officially filed to present a settlement offer. Plus, in situations where liability is difficult to prove or there is a lot of evidence to review, insurance companies will wait until fault is determined. If the insurance company challenges the foundation of the suit, your case also may be put on hold until the judge rules if you have the right to bring a case against the other party.
Determining the Extent of Injury
Whether it’s a slip and fall incident, a work accident or a car crash, getting the proper medical treatment is important. Having a record of when you got hurt and the course of therapy are key pieces of evidence in a personal injury case. This documentation will likely be necessary to prove the extent of your injuries to the insurance company or in lawsuit proceedings. Don’t be surprised if collecting and reviewing this documentation takes some time.
Recovering from the Injury
A personal injury lawsuit shouldn’t be closed until the plaintiff has reached a stable point in terms of medical treatment. It’s necessary to attain ‘maximum medical improvement’ (MMI) in order to properly calculate the compensation owed. MMI refers to the best expected point of recovery from the injury. At this point, you and your lawyer will be able to assess the full implications of the injury and the long-term outcome. Plus, it will be easier to add up the medical expenses already incurred and estimate the cost of any future treatment or therapy needed.
Requesting Significant Compensation
Personal injury cases worth a substantial amount of money tend to take longer to resolve. This is because:
- There is usually more evidence of the accident and injury which will need to be reviewed,
- Often the insurance company or other party will want to conduct their own investigation into liability and damages,
- The insurance company and other party will likely resist settling the case or take longer to agree to a fair amount of damages.
It may take longer to sort these issues out if the case involves a high-value personal injury claim.
Handling Legal Disputes
Insurance representatives and the person at fault will probably put up a fight. They will want to negotiate a lower settlement amount or claim that they weren’t responsible for the accident. If a settlement can’t be reached these disputes may push a personal injury suit towards trial.
If a lawsuit goes to court, the process will naturally take longer to be completed. Your lawyer may need to file pre-trial motions. Then, experts, doctors and witnesses may be called it to provide testimony. During the trial, your legal team will need to prove that the other party had a certain duty of care and was liable in the accident. Your lawyer will show evidence of your injury and documentation supporting the amount of damages requested. Evidence may be disputed by the other lawyers and witnesses during the trial. Finally, the judge will deliberate the lawsuit and all the evidence presented.
Is it Quicker to Settle a Personal Injury Suit?
An experienced lawyer can advise you on the best way to go forward with a personal injury lawsuit. Some people dealing with an injury need compensation right away in order to move on from the accident. For this reason, settling the suit may be the quicker solution. The settlement process can still take months, or even years, to resolve.
A quick settlement will probably not deliver truly fair compensation, however. Settlement negotiation and, in some cases, trial litigation are necessary to deliver the full value of a personal injury suit.
Learn more about When You Should Hire a Person Injury Attorney.
Legal Representation for Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
When the insurance company or the personal at fault drag their feet, you need a dedicated personal injury attorney to keep the process moving. It’s important to demand fair damages for the injured person, while working to resolve the lawsuit as soon as possible.
Schedule a consultation with the lawyers at Amourgis & Associates today at (800) 444-1967 or online. We represent plaintiffs all around the state of Ohio.