One of the top questions that most people tend to ask when pursuing a claim is ‘how long does it take for a personal injury case to settle?’ As your personal injury attorney in Douglasville, Georgia, would tell you, the answer is relative.
The legal system can move fast or slow, depending on the facts of the case. This article discusses the length of a case, including an overview of the litigation process. We’ll also provide reasons why your case could settle on time or drag for a while.
The Personal Injury Case Process in Douglasville
The ideal way to determine how long your personal injury case will take is to understand the process. Many factors, like early settlement and evidence collection, determine how long the claim will last.
Below, we discuss the process of a personal injury case.
Get Medical Treatment
The first step you need to take if you suffer injuries due to another person’s negligent action is to seek medical attention. Your medical expenses will make up most of the compensation awarded to you.
Therefore, while seeking medical attention, document every record like the diagnostic tests, emergency room bills, surgeries, etc. These documents will ensure you receive fair compensation from the at-fault party.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Douglassville, Georgia
The next step is usually meeting and hiring a lawyer. Your Douglasville personal injury lawyer will review the evidence gathered to help you determine the monetary value of your claim. At Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler, the initial consultation is free and is the time our lawyers analyze the evidence of your case.
By meeting with a lawyer, the attorney will read the police report to determine who was at fault and the right step to take to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. The time for meeting with your lawyer could sometimes take a couple of weeks. This is because your attorney needs to investigate the case to determine the best strategy.
Beginning the Case
Note that your personal injury case doesn’t officially begin till you file a complaint with the court, pay the filing fee and provide the defendant with a copy of the summons and complaint. The complaint contains the fact of the case and also states the defendant’s liability. It will also clearly state the amount you’re demanding.
On the other hand, the summons notifies the defendant that they’ve been sued. It sometimes takes weeks or more for your personal injury lawyer to draft a complaint.
Negotiating the Settlement
After filing the claim, the responsible party’s insurance company might reach out for an out-of-court settlement. That’s where your personal injury lawyer enters the picture; they’ll act as an intermediary and negotiate with the insurance carrier. Most insurance companies have skilled lawyers with vast experience which they use to reduce the insurer’s liability.
This is why you should also have legal representation. Your personal injury attorney in Douglasville, Georgia, will protect your rights during the negotiation and will only accept a favorable settlement.
Discovery and Mediation Phase
If you can’t reach an agreeable out-of-court settlement, the case will proceed to court, where the discovery and mediation phase begins. The discovery phase is when each party investigates the details of the case. Then, each personal injury lawyer sends questions to the other party and takes depositions from witnesses.
The judge would ask the two parties to attend a mediation session if the negotiation breaks down before the trial. Here, a neutral mediator will step in to help both parties resolve the case. This phase is non-binding, which means nobody has to accept the terms provided.
If mediation does not work, the case will proceed to trial. A trial can last weeks, months, days, or even years. It depends on the court’s schedule, the availability of witnesses, and the legal issues.
Factors Affecting the Length of Your Personal Injury Claim
There are factors that determine the length of your personal injury case. We discussed them below.
Every legal issue raised must be addressed before a case can conclude. For example, your personal injury case value depends on damages and liability. If it is hard to prove liability, getting compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster would be difficult. So the more legal issues a case has, the longer the claim duration.
The insurance company might delay paying the full amount demanded if the monetary damage is enormous. Insurance carriers make money by reducing the compensation they pay out.
In some cases, the defendant might not have enough money to pay the amount. Trying to decide the best way to pay the claim could take weeks or months depending on whether you accept the counteroffer.
You Still Require Medical Treatment
If you’re still receiving treatment, it could also prolong the length of the case. Maximum Medical Improvement is essential before a claim concludes as it will help you account for all the medical bills you need a refund for. Sometimes, your physician could submit a document stating your condition and how much money it would take to treat your injuries and help you recover fully.
Accepting the First Offer
In most cases, victims need quick money to attend to immediate needs, so they accept the first offer made by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. While this is not always ideal, as you could get more by negotiating, taking the first settlement concludes the case early.
Note that once you accept the settlement, you cannot file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This would be the case even if the amount received is not enough to cover your damages. Therefore, consult your lawyer before accepting the first offer.
Reach Out to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Douglasville, Georgia, Today!
If you suffered injuries due to someone’s negligent actions, you should file a personal injury claim. While a personal injury case can take months to settle or just weeks, we will ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Therefore contact an injury attorney in Douglasville, Georgia.
Our skilled team of personal injury lawyers at Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler are available to guide you through the entire process. We have the expertise to handle insurance companies and the legal system efficiently.
We’ll help you build a base that protects your rights and results in a favorable outcome. The ideal way to get started is by scheduling an initial consultation. Contact our injury attorney in Douglasville, Georgia, today to learn how we can help you.