Why It May Take Time To Resolve Your Injury Case
If you are in an accident, you may need settlement money as quickly as possible. You may be out of work, with bills mounting up—the need for funds is understandable. And while some personal injury cases do settle relatively quickly, they don’t all resolve quickly. But why?
Evidence and Medical Treatment
The first thing that takes time in your injury case, is the gathering of evidence and information. This may include police reports, photos, or retaining, and getting the opinions of, experts. Your attorney may also need to interview any eyewitnesses to get a better picture of what happened at the accident.
During the time of your accident, you will be getting medical treatment. It is generally not a good idea to try to settle your case, unless and until you know how injured you actually are; you may recover almost completely, but you also may never fully recover, and may have continuing long term disability.
But you won’t know that until you continue to treat until your recovery reaches a “plateau.” How long that takes largely depends on the nature, and extent of your injury-someone who goes to therapy a few times and recovers, may reach maximum improvement quicker than someone with multiple surgeries and ongoing, significant medical problems.
Time to Negotiate
Once you have reached maximum medical improvement, and you aren’t expected to recover any further, your attorney will gather all of your medical records, and send them to the Defendant or its insurance company, to try to settle the case.
Now, there will be a period of “back and forth” between your injury attorneys and the Defendant or insurance company, where the two sides will try to come to a settlement figure that you are content with accepting. It can take the insurance company time to evaluate your records and make an offer—and to evaluate or make any counteroffers.
Going to Trial
If you settle the case it is over for the amount that you settle for. But the Defendant cannot or does not offer a settlement figure you are happy with, you then will have to file a lawsuit. The timeline after that is sometimes out of you or your attorney’s control; it often depends on the judge’s schedule, to hear necessary matters, make decisions in the case, and ultimately, to set a date to go to a trial.
During all this time, both sides will be gathering evidence about the other side’s case. Depositions and gathering of information all will take time, and your attorney may have to go in front of the judge a number of times to resolve disputes that come up, before you even get to your trial.
If your case does go to trial, you will be put on a trial docket, based on the judge’s schedule. Hopefully, your trial will end your case—but there is always the chance of an appeal, which could extend the timeline even longer.