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How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you could be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and damage to your property caused by the accident.

Because every injury case is different, it can be challenging to predict how long it will take for your lawsuit to be resolved. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand the process and the potential timeline of events.

Both clients and attorneys want to see the process go as quickly and smoothly as possible. A skilled injury lawyer will also want to get the best results possible, whether that means accepting a fair settlement offer or taking the case to trial. You need an experienced firm like Kevin A. Adamson, P.C., that is willing to fight for the compensation you’re due rather than settle quickly for less.

Contact us now for a free and confidential claim evaluation.

How Long Should a Personal Injury Claim Take?

If your personal injury claim is straightforward, then it could be resolved within a few weeks or months. If you and your attorney have to take the fight for compensation to court, then the process could take much longer. Complex cases with multiple at-fault parties, like multi-vehicle accidents or commercial truck accidents, could take years.

The basic steps a personal injury claim must go through to be resolved are:

  • Seek medical care. This is an important first step. Many insurance companies require you to be evaluated within a “reasonable” amount of time after an accident occurs. Not only is it imperative for your health, but it could also make or break your case for compensation since medical records provide crucial evidence.
  • Hire an attorney to investigate the accident. An attorney can thoroughly investigate the accident and collect crucial evidence in order to determine who was at fault and calculate the compensation you may be owed.
  • File a claim. Your attorney can file a personal injury claim on your behalf.
  • Negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney can enter into negotiations with the insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can then attempt to resolve your claim through a personal injury lawsuit.
  • File a personal injury lawsuit. If negotiations fail, then your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf and fight your case in court.
  • Enter pretrial phase. During this phase of the lawsuit, each legal team investigates the other legal team’s claims. Your legal team can send requests for documents and other records to the defendant’s team. Any witnesses to the accident can also give depositions. This particular phase of a lawsuit is often quite long and can last from six months to a year.
  • Negotiate a settlement. During this phase, the two legal teams will attempt to settle in a last-ditch effort to avoid trial. Sometimes a mediator will get involved to try to help the two sides come to an agreement.
  • Go to trial. For the most part, personal injury claims are settled out of court, but if a settlement can’t be reached, the case goes to trial. The trial is usually much shorter than the discovery phase. It could be a day or a week or longer. It’s also important to note that trials get delayed all the time for various reasons.

Is Fast Always Better in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Although most clients would like to see their claims resolved as quickly as possible (as do attorneys, who usually don’t get paid until that happens), faster is not always better.

Your attorney will usually advise you to wait to pursue settlement of your claim until you are either medically well again or until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which simply means that whatever medical treatment you have received has done all it can do, even if you haven’t fully recovered. If you pursue your claim before you reach MMI, it may be challenging to calculate the total value of your losses, such as future medical expenses and lost income.

It’s also vital that you don’t settle for less compensation than you deserve. Once you have filed your claim, insurance companies will often quickly offer settlements that seem generous but, in reality, do not come close to covering all of the damages caused by the accident. A skilled attorney will be able to aggressively negotiate with the insurance company from a position of strength. Even if it takes a while to come to a fair settlement, it’s better to fight it out than to settle for much less than you deserve.

It’s additionally vital to know that Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations in place for personal injury cases. This means you must file your lawsuit within two years from the date of the injury or the date you discovered the injury or reasonably should have discovered it.

How Long Does It Take to Receive an Offer of Compensation?

Every claim has a different timeline based on the circumstances of the case. Once you and your attorney have investigated your case and have filed your personal injury claim, the insurance company could offer you a settlement right away if they are eager to resolve the matter. But the last thing you want to do is accept a weak offer that doesn’t cover your financial and personal losses.

In other cases, insurance companies may not immediately make an offer. They may argue that your injuries weren’t caused by the accident or that someone else was to blame for the accident. That’s why it is helpful to have an attorney in your corner before you even file your claim.

What Happens If I Lose My Personal Injury Claim?

If you take your case all the way to trial and you lose your case, it can be crushing, but it does sometimes happen. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s over. Generally, if you lose your personal injury case, you can appeal to a higher court.

An appeal requests that the higher court reviews the decision for legal errors. The best thing you can do is regroup with your attorney, who will be able to advise you of your remaining legal options. Remember, your attorney doesn’t get paid unless you do, so your attorney has every incentive to use all reasonable legal options to help you seek the compensation you deserve.

How Do I Prove a Personal Injury Claim?

To prove a personal injury claim, you will need to be able to prove fault. To win your case, you’ll need to be able to show that another party was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries.

Important evidence could include:

  • Evidence from the accident scene, such as photos or videos of the hazard that caused you to slip and fall or of the damage and skid marks that resulted from a car accident
  • Physical evidence, such as the clothes and shoes you wore at the time of a fall
  • Statements from witnesses who saw the accident occur
  • Documentation that can link the accident to your injuries and losses, such as medical records, medical receipts, a police report, and income statements
  • Testimony from experts, such as an accident reconstruction specialist or a medical expert

You may also wonder whether you can succeed with a personal injury claim if you were partly at fault for an accident. Georgia has a comparative negligence rule in place, which dictates that an injured party can recover as long as they are less than 50 percent at fault for the injury, although their percentage of fault may reduce their compensation.

Contact Kevin A. Adamson, P.C.

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, the personal injury attorneys at Kevin A. Adamson, P.C. will be ready to help. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you understand your rights and options.