It is important to note that most personal injury cases settle and do not go to trial. The length of time it takes to settle depends on a variety of factors specifically related to the case. First and foremost is your recovery.
Maximum Medical Improvement
The primary objective after you are injured is your medical care and recovery. Typically, a demand is not made to the insurance company until you have reached maximum medical improvement or MMI. Once your doctor agrees that your injuries are healed, or that your condition is unlikely to improve, your attorney can more accurately calculate your future losses. The length of time it takes to reach MMI directly relates to the severity of your injuries. A serious injury such as a traumatic brain injury or a back injury that causes long-term losses will take much longer to resolve than a slip and fall that results in a broken ankle. To prove your injury, evidence will need to be gathered.
The value of your case, negotiation, and trial all rely on available evidence. Gathering that evidence requires that attorney to work with different parties to evidence, such as medical records, police reports, photographs, video recordings, and insurance communications. It can take agencies a long time to respond to these requests.
As a rule, cases involving larger settlements take longer than demands for a lower amount of damages. Insurers may decide that it’s better to pay out a reasonable settlement than spend money building a case and going to trial. However, if a victim suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in injury costs, the insurer is much more likely to attempt to defeat the claim in court.
If negotiations, after the demand is sent, are not successful a suit will have to be filed. After a suit is filed, the discovery process will begin. Both parties will request documents from each other and conduct a complete investigation. Either side may hire expert witnesses or accident reconstruction experts. This process can take months or even years and cost thousands of dollars. Before actually going to trial mediation will occur.
In mediation, a non-biased third party mediator meets with the parties to work towards a settlement. This is a more casual atmosphere than a courtroom. It is always great when a case can be settled in mediation, but sometimes this is not possible. Mediation can last an hour or up to two or three days. If there is no settlement, the case is set for trial.
If a suit is filed and the case proceeds to trial, you are reliant on court dates, judges’ schedules, and other delays that can lengthen your case. Towards the end of discovery, the parties might begin discussing settlements. By this time, numerous months or years have gone by from the initial accident.
While there isn’t a time limit for how long an injury case may last, there’s a limited window of time for victims to file a lawsuit in court. After this period expires, you lose your right to compensation for your injuries.
Kendrick Law Group offers free consultations to discuss your case and provide answers to questions you may have. Call Don Morrell at Kendrick Law Group Today at 407-641-5847.