The timeline for a personal injury claim depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. For example, some cases may reach a settlement within a few months after the injured party completes medical treatment.
However, your personal injury case could take longer to settle, especially if you sustained catastrophic injuries.
Unfortunately, a personal injury or accident might significantly impact many aspects of your life. Money does not undo the damage caused by a reckless or negligent act. However, a settlement can provide the funds you need for long-term care and other financial needs. Below we discuss several factors that could impact how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim.
What Factors Impact How Long it Takes to Settle a Personal Injury Claim in Jacksonville, FL?
Numerous factors might impact the timeline for a personal injury case. Common factors that could affect your case include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
You should wait until you complete your medical treatment before settling your injury claim. The longer it takes you to recover from your injuries, the longer it takes to settle your case.
Your physician releases you from treatment when you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Some accident victims recover fully from their injuries. However, some individuals may sustain permanent injuries or disabilities.
MMI is when no further medical treatment is expected to improve your condition. Your attorney should demand compensation for your disabling conditions and future damages if you have a disability or impairment when you reach MMI.
Future damages may include, but are not limited to:
- Future loss of income, including diminished earning potential
- Future medical bills for ongoing medical care and treatment
- Long-term nursing care or personal care
- Continued physical, mental, or emotional pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
Catastrophic injuries can result in debilitating disabilities and impairments. Examples include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, loss of a limb, severe burns, and loss of bodily functions.
Future damages are in addition to the compensation you receive for past and present economic and non-economic damages.
The Type of Personal Injury Case
If the claim involves product liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, construction accidents, nursing home abuse, or premises liability, it could take longer to settle.
For example, the complexity and legal requirements of a medical malpractice case are different from a typical car accident claim. All medical malpractice claims require testimony by medical experts. However, expert testimony is not required in all car accident cases.
On the other hand, if your accident involves a commercial truck, the case may involve multiple parties and federal regulations. In addition, it could take months to determine the cause of the truck crash. Therefore, most truck accident cases take longer to settle than many car accident claims involving passenger vehicles.
The specific facts, circumstances, and type of case must be considered when determining a timeline for settlement.
The Length of the Investigation
You have the burden of proving that the other party caused your injuries. Investigating an accident or injury could take months. Your lawyers must pursue all evidence to build a case for causation and fault.
A thorough investigation is crucial. Without evidence, you cannot prove your negligence and fault. If you cannot prove negligence and fault, you cannot recover money for your damages.
Lawyers may hire investigators, accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and other experts to assist during the investigation. Expert witnesses help build a strong case. However, the experts require time to complete their work.
Rushing an investigation could result in losing the case or receiving much less for a settlement.
The settlement process may take months once you complete medical treatment and your lawyer completes the investigation.
Generally, your lawyer sends a settlement demand letter to the insurance company. The insurance company may agree to pay the settlement amount, or it might issue a counteroffer.
Your lawyer and the insurance company may engage in back and forth negotiations. The insurance company generally wants to pay as little as possible to settle your claim. Your attorney will demand the maximum value of your damages.
When parties cannot agree to a settlement amount, they may decide to go through mediation or arbitration to settle the matter. Working with a mediator or arbitrator can lengthen the settlement process. However, it could be preferable to filing a lawsuit and going to court.
The Need to File a Lawsuit if Negotiations Fail
A dedicated attorney will invest the time it takes to get you a fair settlement offer. However, if the insurance company refuses to agree to fair compensation, your lawyer might advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, filing a personal injury lawsuit is the best way to protect your right to compensation for damages.
If the other party continues to drag out settlement negotiations, you may need to file a lawsuit to avoid missing the filing deadline set by the Florida statute of limitations. The deadlines to file injury lawsuits vary by the type of case, the parties involved, and other factors.
Many personal injury lawyers are trained and skilled trial litigators. However, there is no guarantee that going to trial will result in a positive outcome. Jurors are unpredictable and might decide in favor of the defendant.
Therefore, your attorney should discuss the pros and cons of filing a personal injury lawsuit versus accepting a settlement agreement. Each case is unique. Therefore, you should not base your decision on other cases.
Sometimes, filing a lawsuit and completing the discovery phase results in a settlement agreement. The parties may be more willing to compromise to settle instead of taking a chance going to trial.
Unfortunately, filing a lawsuit extends the time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim. After you file the complaint, lawsuits could take more than a year to go to trial. The timeline for a personal injury lawsuit depends on many factors, including the complexity of the case, the parties involved, and the court’s schedule.
Contact a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you likely want to quickly settle your personal injury case. An experienced attorney will work diligently to get you a fair settlement amount in the quickest time possible. However, a skilled attorney will not rush a case to settlement if it means less money in your pocket.
Contact an experienced Jacksonville injury attorney at Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation. A lawyer will provide a detailed analysis of your case, including a discussion of your legal options.