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How Long Do Personal Injury Cases Take To Settle?
If you have sustained a serious injury, you may contemplate filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for causing your injuries, whether from a car accident, defective product, sexual abuse, or a slip and fall.
One of the pressing questions you probably have is how long a personal injury lawsuit takes to go to trial or settle. While there is no set amount of time a lawsuit takes, there are various factors to consider. To further help you decide if pursuing legal action is best for your emotional and financial well-being, this blog discusses the steps plaintiffs typically go through when filing a personal injury claim and the approximate timeline associated with each step.
Step 1: Seek Medical Treatment
Going to the emergency room or seeing a doctor immediately after a vehicle crash, assault, or other injury is especially important in personal injury cases. This not only benefits your health but also potentially your case.
Hospital records are important pieces of evidence. If you fail to seek medical treatment, the insurance company adjuster and defense attorneys representing the other party may argue that your injuries were not that serious or that something other than their bad conduct caused your injury.
Step 2: Schedule A Consultation With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci
Serious injuries often mean time away from work, thousands of dollars in medical expenses, and a long recovery process. One way to reduce your financial burden and find a way forward is to seek damages.
The best way to understand your legal options is to speak with a personal injury attorney. Try to make an appointment at a law firm as soon as you are physically able, as there are some critical actions your attorney will need to handle right away to ensure the integrity of your case. Your first appointment shouldn’t last more than one to two hours when you schedule with us.
Step 3: Your Attorney Investigates Your Case And Reviews Your Medical Records While You Focus On Treatment And Healing
It’s imperative to make sure you fully heal or understand the lifetime effects of your injuries before your case is resolved. Your attorney needs time to investigate your case to determine which legal strategies will work best for your situation. In the meantime, your job is to focus on getting the treatments you need for your body to heal.
At the same time, as you are focusing on healing, our first step is to interview you to understand the facts of your case. Information of interest will include knowing about dates, mitigating factors, possible witnesses, pre-existing conditions, and more.
This process can take several months and depends on the responsiveness of each medical provider and how quickly you heal. While this step is lengthy, it cannot and should not be rushed, as it will determine what next steps are in your best interest.
Step 4: Making Demands And Negotiations
If your case is fairly straightforward in terms of fault and damages, you may be able to settle without a trial. The next step is to make a settlement demand with the other party’s attorney or insurance adjuster. The settlement demand process can take a few weeks. On the other hand, if you have suffered catastrophic injuries or fault is not as clear, the best option may be to move straight to filing a lawsuit.
Step 5: Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit can take longer than settling, but it may be worth it to obtain the maximum amount available. Due to the statute of limitations in Virginia that govern personal injury lawsuits, the filing must occur within two years of the date you incurred injuries for most personal injury claims.
Step 6: The Discovery Phase
Discovery is just a legal term that means evidence gathering. Once a lawsuit has been filed, each attorney will take depositions, a term that describes interviewing the plaintiff, defendant, and witnesses under oath. When we share documents with the lawyers representing the defense, we’ll also have an extensive list of questions about their claims and defenses.
Court deadlines and the complexity of your case affect the timeline of this stage.
Step 7: Negotiations
Next, we often start negotiating. If the liable party does not offer a fair settlement, a neutral third party may come in to act as a mediator. This is usually a retired judge. You and the other party will also join this process and work towards a resolution with your attorneys.
Step 8: Personal Injury Trial
The trial occurs when negotiations or mediation between the parties fails to produce a desirable result. The length of your trial depends on several factors, including the judge’s schedule.
Other Factors That Can Influence The Speed Of Your Trial
We understand how frustrating it can be if your trial takes longer than expected. Especially when you have serious injuries and costly medical bills, we will do whatever we can to ensure the process is as painless as possible. However, sometimes there are additional factors that may affect the timing of your case. Here are some common examples.
- Extensive medical treatments: We want to ensure you get all the medical treatment you need. If your injuries require numerous surgeries and other medical treatments, gathering and presenting all evidence may take longer, including the likelihood of future medical expenses.
- High-value claims: Personal injury lawsuits worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars often take much longer to evaluate than smaller cases. The jury needs to feel comfortable that it has heard all relevant evidence related to a high-value claim before ruling on it.
- The number of lay and expert witnesses called: Lay witnesses are those who may have seen the accident occur or who have general knowledge about you and your injuries. Expert witnesses are typically medical or legal specialists who can provide significant insight into a certain topic. The total number of witnesses called and how long they speak impact the duration of your trial.
Consult With a Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci Today
Every case is different, so there is no finite amount of time that it takes to settle a personal injury claim. Furthermore, factors outside your or your attorney’s control often affect settlement timelines.
This may feel frustrating, especially if you have suffered financially and emotionally and wish to seek justice. Working with an experienced lawyer can help you better understand the timeline of your specific case. Your personal injury attorney should work closely with you throughout the case, giving you status updates and updated timeline projections.
If you’d like to talk with us about a possible personal injury case, we invite you to schedule a free consultation. We purposefully limit our caseload to provide each individual case’s time and attention. This is our approach at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci.