Most people file personal injury claims because they need the money. Between medical bills, lost wages, and the possibility of property damage, it all adds up. When the median American household only has $11,700 in savings, what seems like a minor accident can send the average family off of an economic cliff. People want personal injury cases to resolve quickly and efficiently. Below, are a few key facts about how long a personal injury claim usually takes, and several of the factors that affect the timeline.
Seeking medical care
Once the injury has occurred, the first step should be to go to a doctor. A doctor will be able to guide you down an appropriate course of treatment. They will also document your injuries, which an insurance company will later use to value your claim. Additionally, if you do not see a doctor immediately after the injury, the insurer will be led to believe that your injuries were not severe enough to seek a claim, and if you wait too long you may pass the statute of limitations in your state, which makes you eligible to file a lawsuit.
That said, the statute of limitations countdown begins the moment the person filing the suit learns that they have suffered harm. Some injuries may not become debilitating until years after the incident. That is one of the reasons why it is important to see a doctor: A twinge today can be debilitating pain tomorrow, and you don’t want to be in that position. When you take diagnosis, treatment, and rehab into account, full medical treatment can often take a year or more.
Speaking with a lawyer
You will want to find and speak with a lawyer. A lawyer is a crucial next step, for several reasons. First, you want to determine if you have a case. As Preszler Law, a personal injury lawyer in Toronto, puts it, when bringing a legitimate personal injury case “the most important requirements, however, are evidence of injury and causation. What this means is that the individual involved is responsible for proving they sustained physical, emotional, or financial injury and that another party’s actions caused that individual to suffer the injury.” Second, claims adjusters are permitted to record their conversations with you. A lawyer will be able to guide you on how to communicate with the insurance company in order to maximize your claim.
Negotiation with insurance companies and lawsuits
Once you have consulted with a lawyer, your case may still not go to a lawsuit. Most personal injury claims are settled outside of court, before a lawsuit is filed. Furthermore, next steps are different depending on the type of injury and depending on whether or not the other party has insurance. If the other party does have liability insurance, you will send their company a notice of claim that includes both of your information. This will take a few rounds of back-and-forth negotiations, as you draft documents such as demand letters. If negotiations for your settlement break down, then you can file a lawsuit. If they are not insured, they will be personally liable for punitive and compensatory parts of your settlement.
While seeking a settlement, it can take a few months of negotiating with insurance companies Once you file a lawsuit, it can take as long as one to three years to get a trial date, and they may involve an appeals phase of a year or more. If the lawsuit is settled in your favor, it can take as long as a month to actually receive your claim award.