Often times, an injury can cause undue pain and suffering, loss of compensation and exorbitant medical bills (to name a few). After an injury due to the negligence of another person has occurred, one of the last things that an injury victim wants to hear is, “It could take a few years before you are compensated.” However, in most cases, this is reality. Especially if you choose to bypass the often time “lowball” settlement offered by the insurance company. Remember, quick compensation is usually not the best compensation. Before you make the decision to pursue your personal injury claim, it is imperative that you have an understanding of the process before it starts. This will help you to be more patient with the personal injury proceedings and allow your attorney the time to fight for the compensation that you rightfully deserve.
The Process of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The personal injury claims process includes a lot of steps, meetings, evidence gathering, negotiating, and litigating. Though it typically takes a few months to two years to settle a personal injury suit, this is not always the case. In some instances, it can be shorter and in others, the process can be much longer. This will mostly depend on the complexity of the case and how much clear evidence of fault there is. Listed below are some of the more pertinent steps of a typical personal injury case.
- If possible, collect evidence from the scene and injuries sustained right after the accident has occurred.
- Immediately seek medical attention (follow up on all appointments and adhere to the treatment plan prescribed).
- Connect with a reputable personal injury attorney.
- Your attorney will investigate all pertinent information. They can then make a demand to settle for the other attorneys. In many instances, your attorney will want to wait until you are fully recovered, so they know what the case is worth.
- If your demands are not met, your attorney will then file a lawsuit.
- The discovery process will begin.
- Mediation, as well as negotiations, will take place.
- If there is no settlement, the trial will begin.
Will My Case go to Trial?
According to attorney Timothy J. Ryan, most personal injury cases do not go to trial. In fact, oftentimes, cases are settled before the trial begins. This happens during the mediation process. The mediator is tasked with facilitating communication and negotiations between parties. Their chief concern is helping both parties reach a mutually beneficial decision without having to go to trial. It is important to remember, that the results of mediation are not binding. If both parties are unable to reach an amicable decision, then they can take their dispute to trial.
Why is My Case Taking So Long?
The typical personal injury case can take anywhere from a few months (if settled quickly), to a couple of years to reach a conclusion. However, there are certain cases that can go well beyond two years. This happens most typically in cases that involve large sums of money, complex issues, or problems with the facts. In addition, your lawyer will typically wait to pursue the case until you have reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI) from your injuries. Some opt to “take the quick money” and settle early. However, this is not recommended. Allow your attorney the time to get the compensation that you deserve in full. You may also want to check with Richmond personal injury law firm for advice.