personal injury lawsuitIf you have a personal injury claim, you may be wondering how long it will take for the lawsuit to be finalized.  This post will give you a general idea of how things will progress if you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Seek Medical Attention

First and foremost, you should seek medical attention for your injuries.  Go to the nearest hospital or see your doctor right away.  The sooner you see a doctor the better.  This is important for your own wellbeing, but also because the insurance company may feel that your injury was not that bad to begin with if you wait too long.

Get a Lawyer

Right after you seek medical attention it’s time to seek out a personal injury lawyer.  You will have a better outcome if you have a lawyer on your side verses handling it yourself, especially if you have an injury or loss that is more than a minor claim.  If you are out of work, have broken a bone, or have significant medical bills, it’s time to call a lawyer.

Claim Investigation and Medical Record Review

Your lawyer will interview you about the accident.  Questions will asked about what happened, what your injuries are, and your current medical condition stemming from that accident. Your medical records, medical bills, police reports, and anything else that could be relevant to your case will be collected.  This process can take several weeks to complete.  After everything is collected, your lawyer will go over everything to determine if you have a case or not.

Negotiation and Making a Demand

If your lawyer thinks that the case can be settled, they will present a demand to the lawyer for the insurance company.  If your claim consists of an impairment or permanent injury, a good lawyer will not suggest a settlement before filing your lawsuit.

Your personal injury attorney should not send a demand until you have reached the point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI).  MMI is when you have recovered all that you can and you have stopped medical treatment.  Your lawyer will not know how much your case is worth until MMI has been reached.

The MMI process could take months or even years.  But if you are financially unable to wait, your lawyer should file your case sooner.

Filing the Personal Injury Lawsuit

The clock begins to tick once the lawsuit is filed.  Each state has different procedures for pretrial, but it usually takes 1-2 years for a case of personal injury to make it to trial.  Remember that your lawsuit needs to be filed within the time limits set by that state’s statute of limitations.

Process of Discovery

Discovery is when each party investigates what the legal claims and defenses are for the case.  Questions will be sent to each party and depositions will be taken from all witnesses, starting with the plaintiff and the defendant.    This can take 6 months to 1 year depending on how complex the case is.

Negotiating and Mediating

Once the discovery process is complete, the lawyers involved in the case will usually discuss a settlement.  Sometimes the lawyers can settle the case themselves.  In other cases, mediation may be part of the process.

The Trial Process

If mediation doesn’t work, the case will be going to trial.  A trial for a personal injury case can take anywhere from 1 day, 1 week, or longer.  Keep in mind that even though a trial date has been set, it may not happen on that date due to the schedule of the judge.  Your trial will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please don’t hesitate to CONTACT The Lieser Law Firm for a FREE consultation.