What is the Timeline for a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Most people hire an attorney because they have no legal experience and they want to be sure that they receive the compensation they deserve for their personal injury lawsuit. It may be very intimidating at first to go to court, testify in front of a judge and jury, and have to deal with the insurance company or other entity that is being sued for recklessness, negligence or criminal intent. An experienced and successful personal injury attorney is going to work hard to limit how long it will take to get compensation, and they will tell you about how many weeks they expect your case to be based on prior cases. In the information below you will learn what to expect when filing your personal injury lawsuit. However this is just a general guideline. No one can ever say for sure how long your case may take. Some personal injury lawsuits are settled in a day, and some take weeks, months or even years. Speaking to an attorney about your personal injury lawsuit will give you a more specific timeframe.
The first step is seeking medical treatment and deciding whether or not you want to hurry an attorney. This can take a couple of days between going to the hospital or to your position, making phone calls to different law firms, going out and actually meeting the different attorneys that you were considering, and finally settling on one that you trust.
The next stage is the investigation stage which is performed by your attorney. If the injury was the result of a car accident then the police report will be obtained by the firm to conduct their own research. Medical malpractice cases are investigated using medical records. A great attorney has access to expert witnesses who are professionals in the field such as forensics medicine police training and other fields that are relevant to your injuries. This portion can take a few weeks even up to a few months with the average being about three months.
Many victims of accidents suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Your relationships may also suffer from additional strain on them. For example, couples where a spouse has to bathe, feed, drive and otherwise take care of their partner may notice more arguing, frustration, and feelings of helplessness. If you were injured then you may feel humiliated. Many couples find themselves arguing a lot more than they used to, and they feel like the accident has taken away a sense of normalcy for them. Your attorney will gather evidence from family members or others who can testify that you have suffered from these non-economic damages.
After the attorney has reviewed your reports, treatments, and has interviewed witnesses they will begin settlement negotiations. Most times the insurance companies are going to try to settle your case so it doesn’t have to go to trial. And while you could possibly win more money, you could also risk everything if you go to trial, so your attorney may encourage you not to. If the facts of your case are being disputed, however, then those will need to be argued in court. To prepare for your case you will need to hire an experienced attorney.