How Long Does it Take to Settle a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Suffering injuries in an accident can be traumatic and painful, especially when the accident is not your fault. In addition, there are many financial worries the injured person has to contend with, including medical bills, the inability to return to work due to injuries, and damage to their property.
Those involved in these situations are counting on a personal injury lawsuit to help them cover their losses and make themselves as financially whole as possible again.
Understandably, how long does lawsuit take to settle is of the utmost concern, as the injured party would like the matter settled sooner than later?
The case will be resolved by settlement, bench trial verdict, or a jury verdict. This article will address the nature of personal injury lawsuits and the many factors that affect the time it takes for them to settle.
The Process of a Personal Injury Claim
There are specific standard steps to take to file a personal injury claim. The more information and evidence you assemble will help determine how much compensation you will receive.
The accident happens: the personal injury case begins
Once an accident has occurred, taking the following actions immediately is advised:
- Get medical attention for your injuries;
- Take photos of the accident scene;
- Speak to witnesses and get their contact information;
- Gather police reports or incident reports; and
- Secure physical evidence from the accident scene.
Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney
If you have been in an accident and have suffered injuries that you needed to get medical attention for and are unable to work, it would best serve you to find an attorney from a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases. Make sure the attorney works on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay the attorney any fees or costs until you receive compensation for your losses.
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Your attorney will review and evaluate the case and assess what your case is worth in terms of damages. The attorney will also help determine the party or parties at fault for your injury case.
If you’re wondering how long does a settlement take, your attorney should be able to give you a sense based on their experience. They will then issue a demand letter to the relevant insurance agency or liable party involved or, if necessary, file a lawsuit in the appropriate court.
Resolution of the claim: settlement negotiations or trial date?
Although most personal injury claims are settled out of court and do not go to a trial, each case is unique. Whether your case is decided by a bench trial, jury trial, or through a settlement offer will depend on various factors.
What Can I Receive in a Car Accident Claim?
Those who have been victims of car accidents get financial compensation for medical bills, property damage, and other expenses. Compensation usually happens through negotiating a settlement with the liable party or the party’s insurance company.
If a settlement can’t be reached because there is a dispute over which party is at fault or the amount of compensation for damages, the case might have to go to court.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take in Court?
how long do lawsuit settlements take in court depends on the nature of the case and how complicated the issues are. Cases can take as little as weeks to resolve or last for two or more years.
Determining issues like liability can add to the length of time of a court case, especially in cases where there are multiple liable parties and if these parties are corporate entities. The more complexity involved in the case usually results in needing more time to explain the issues to the judge or jury.
Proving negligence or breach of duty
In a personal injury case, an attorney has to prove negligence on the defendant’s part or a breach of the duty of care.
Proving a breach of the duty of care or negligence can be complicated to prove and may require expert witnesses to help explain certain pieces of evidence. These factors add another layer of complexity to a case which can add to the length of time it takes to resolve the matter.
How long does a lawsuit take to settle? it depends on the type of claim
Was the injury caused by a car accident, product liability, or a premise liability slip and fall case? The type of claim involved often correlates to how long it will take to resolve. The more moving parts in a case, the longer the lawyer may need to prove the subject matter.
Some elements of these cases require proving negligence, a breach of the duty of care, or possibly even breaches in contracts that resulted in the personal injury of a client or customer. In addition, product liability trials can be complicated and complex as the issues involve matters of engineering and machinery.
The Attorney-Client Relationship: Information Your Lawyer Will Need From You
To best pursue your personal injury claim, you should supply your attorney with the following information.
- The date and location of the accident;
- Police or other official government reports;
- Surveillance footage;
- Witness statements and their contact details;
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Medical bills;
- Medical treatment received, and that will be received;
- The existence of insurance policies that could cover the costs of a legal procedure;
- Documentation proving your earning loss and damages;
- Insurance documents such as health insurance and vehicle insurance; and
- Documents having to do with any past legal claim cases.
Damages that Are Considered as the Personal Injury
Damages in personal injury cases refer to people’s financial compensation for their pain and injuries caused by another person or entity’s negligence. One of the most common damages is compensatory damages, which are paid to the injured party for the loss, injury, or damages they suffered from a third party or entity’s actions.
In personal injury cases, the damages are further broken into two categories: special (also called economic) and general (also called non-economic) damages. Special damages are like car dents or medical expenses that can be measured. General damages include emotional distress or pain and suffering that do not have a set measurable cost.
Special or economic damages are awarded to cover someone’s monetary losses for costs and expenses. These would include:
• Medical bills, future medical expenses, and the costs of therapy;
• Property damage;
• Lost wages from the inability to work and future lost earnings;
• The costs to repair or replace property;
• Compensation for items that cannot be replaced; and
• Additional costs caused by the injury.
General or non-economic damages refer to the compensation given for the suffering you and your family members are experiencing and other negative ways you have all been impacted. These are damages that are not measurable by a dollar amount and include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental and emotional anguish;
- Interference with intimacy and personal relationships;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Permanent disability or disfigurement.
The extent of Damages and Compensation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The number of damages you may be awarded for personal injury can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case and the extent of your injuries. It is your legal right to pursue fair compensation for these damages to make yourself as financially whole as possible.
The possible damages to pursue may seem overwhelming and hard to wrap one’s mind around. Here are some more in-depth explanations of what you are entitled to seek compensation.
Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and mental and emotional anguish you suffered due to the accident.
Medical expenses for treatment
You are eligible for compensation for all medical expenses caused by the accident, including payment to cover future medical costs.
Loss of earnings
You are entitled to pursue monetary compensation for loss of earning capacity due to injuries related to the accident. This compensation includes lost wages or salary, bonuses, commission, and fringe benefits.
You can also seek compensation to cover the value of your future earning capacity if the accident has left you unable to work.
Any marks or scars caused by the injury can also be the basis of a compensation claim.
Suppose you or someone you know has been injured in an accident. In that case, whether it be a car accident, the result of product liability, or premises liability, you should seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.
Your attorney will guide you through all necessary steps to ensure you are justly and rightly compensated for your injuries. Depending on the nature of your case and the specific facts involved, your attorney should be able to give you an educated response when you ask ‘how long does it take to settle a lawsuit?’.