The General Timeline for Personal Injury Court Cases
If you have sustained injuries from an accident that was someone else's fault, you will need crucial information about a personal injury case, including the time it will take. Every case is different, so they have different timelines. On average, personal injury court cases take between twelve to eighteen months.
If you have been hurt in an accident, get medical attention even if you don't think you've been harmed. Certain injuries may not manifest themselves for some time, or the seriousness of the trauma may not be known until later. For instance, a minor headache may signal a brain hemorrhage. Keep all of the medical records and receipts for your injury.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is prudent to engage a personal injury lawyer for advice, even if the claim is minor. A legal expert can offer valuable guidance throughout the claims process and ensure your rights are protected.
A Tampa personal injury lawyer can help expedite the process by gathering evidence, writing demand letters, and seeking settlement offers.
Consult an attorney if the injury makes you stay off work for several days or if you suffer any injuries. In addition, find a legal expert if the medical expenses are excessively high. Meet with several lawyers and choose the one you feel will represent your best interests.
Lawyer Investigations and Review
Your lawyer will interview you as one of the initial steps. They want to know everything about the tragedy, injuries sustained, and your primary healthcare.
Next, the attorney will get your medical documents and expenses connected to the injury and any therapy you have ever had for the injuries sustained. Depending on your case, you may receive compensation for past and future medical expenses.
Negotiations and Demands
Many minor personal injury cases are resolved without the need for a lawsuit. If the lawyer believes there is room for negotiations, they will make a demand to the opposing attorney or the other party's insurance company. A skilled attorney will wait until the patient has maximum medical improvement (MMI) before making a demand.
Once your lawyer has started the negotiations, there are two probable scenarios. The other side will accept or reject the amount requested in the demand letter. If they do not accept the offer, compensation talks will continue until your lawyer determines that a trial is the best route to get fair compensation.
Filing the Lawsuit
When a lawsuit is filed, the clock begins ticking on when the matter will be heard in court. Pre-trial processes vary by state, but a personal injury lawsuit might take several months to reach trial.
If mediation fails, the matter will be tried in court. A personal injury trial might take a day, a week, or even months. Since many jurisdictions only hold trials for half a day instead of a full day, the timeline may be extended.
The fact that a case is scheduled does not guarantee that the trial will take place on that date. Due to the judge's schedule, trials are often postponed.
Factors That Influence the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
Experienced attorneys indicate that a personal injury case goes through various steps or events, from the accident to the settlement.
The timeline of a personal injury case depends on the following factors:
- The cause of the injury
- The actions of the at-fault party
- The severity of your injuries
- Medical expenses
- The impact of the accident on your well-being
- Your quality of life after the accident
- Your ability to work after you were injured
- Where the accident occurred
- If the defendant is an individual, a business, or a government entity
Seek Legal Help
Most of the issues mentioned above will shape the accident investigation and affect the trial timelines. It is prudent to find a lawyer to determine the estimated timeline for your personal injury case.
About the Author
As a journalist, Leland D. Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.
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