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How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

April 3, 2022 Personal Injury Lawyers

Many people wonder how long their personal injury case will take to settle. They’ve gotten themselves a reliable attorney; they have some of their documentation, and they are ready to receive a judgment and check. Unfortunately, no one has a clear-cut answer to the question of how long a personal injury case will take. The length of the case depends on a number of factors. The following are some factors that affect the longevity of a case for a personal injury:

The Attorney’s Workload

One factor that may affect the length of a personal injury case is the attorney’s workload. Victims can choose whomever they wish to handle their case. They can choose a small local firm or a large established firm. The drawback that may come about with a larger firm is a tight schedule. Larger firms tend to handle many cases at one time. Case movement may be significantly slow if the firm is popular in the neighborhood. However, the client will want to choose a high-quality firm, even if doing so stretches the length of the case.

The Patient’s Medical Care

Sometimes, the victim is a family member of a person who is in the hospital. The person may be in a coma or otherwise incapacitated. The case cannot progress much until the person obtains a release from the hospital. Therefore the length of the case will last at least as long as the victim is in a hospital’s care. The time the person spends in the hospital depends on the severity of the injury.

The Out-of-Court Concept

Negotiation is the first step in the process of settling a personal injury case. An attorney will first try to get the offending party to settle out of court for personal injury. Many large firms will be willing to settle out of court because of the detrimental media coverage they may receive if they do not settle out of court. An out-of-court settlement can move very quickly. The attorney and the offending party may reach an agreement in only a few days or weeks. The fastest cases end with out-of-court settlements.

The Offender’s Availability

The offender’s availability may have something to do with the time frame on a personal injury case. Some offenders may be out of the office or otherwise unavailable when the time comes for them to answer a claim or make a statement. The victim’s attorney may have to play tag for several weeks or months before the case moves along.

Percentage-of Fault-Proof

Proving percentage of fault may add some time to the case. Most states have percentage-of-fault stipulations on personal injury cases. In other words, they deduct the amount of a settlement based on the victim’s percentage of fault. For example, a judge will decrease a settlement by 50 percent if the victim is 50 percent guilty for his or her injury. An example of a case that involves percentage of fault is a car accident. More than one person can be responsible for a car crash. One person may run a red light while the other driver sends a text message while driving. Assigning 100 percent fault to one person would be difficult in such a case. Attorneys and their clients would need to have discussions and produce paperwork to determine the percentage of fault. This process alone may take weeks before the parties can move to the next stage.

Calculating Settlement Amounts

To determine a settlement amount, the attorney has to perform various calculations. He or she will have to use the patient’s medical bills, auto repair bills, loss-of-work statements and other such documents to come up with a calculation that works. The process may require that the client or the attorney visit different locations and request the necessary documents. It may take the client weeks to get the paper in order. The attorney may have other tasks that hold up that step in the process, as well.

Witnesses and Experts

If the case has witnesses and experts, the hearing may be delayed. The judge will want to hear testimonies from everyone who is involved in it in some way. Witnesses have to work around their work schedules and personal lives to find time to come to court and give their testimonies. Coordinating schedules with key witnesses may prolong the case somewhat. An expert opinion may need to show up in court, as well. Experts are people in special professions such as psychologists, therapists and surgeons. Their schedules have to fit will with their testimonies, as well. Since most specialists have extremely busy agendas, the personal injury case may drag on for months.

The Court’s Schedule

The court itself may have a schedule that conflicts with a personal injury case. Busy courthouses may have to schedule a hearing months away because of a multitude of cases that it must hear.

Investigative and Fact-Finding Steps

Investigations and fact-finding steps may prolong a case. Attorneys and private investigators must travel to the injury site and speak with people who may have witnessed the incident. They may have to gather paperwork from a local police station, as well. Many things come into play during an investigation, and they may add time to the event.

Estimation of Case Time

A personal injury case can be as short as two to three weeks or as long as several years to conclude. A victim’s best option is to hire an attorney that can promise a speedy conclusion. A reliable attorney will be easy to access. The website will offer several options for the prospective client to get in touch. The attorney will return the call within 24 to 48 hours to schedule an initial consultation. The initial consultation will disclose whether the case is worth fight for or not. An attorney may offer contingency representation to a promising case, which means that the victim will not have to pay a penny until the judge awards him or her a settlement. A personal injury attorney will start on a promising case immediately.

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