How Long Do Claims Take with an Injury Lawyer?
The personal injury claims process can take as long as weeks or years, depending on the complexity of the case and the nature of the incident and damages behind it. The claims process goes through several stages before reaching a settlement, with many potential factors influencing the length of the case.
How the Personal Injury Claims Process Works
While there are many elements involved in personal injury cases that make each one unique, the average accident and injury claim tends to settle within one or two years. The process involves multiple steps that claimants should understand as they initiate and navigate it.
Consulting With an Attorney
Injury victims may want to engage with an attorney as soon as possible following an injury that causes broken bones or more serious injuries, requires them to take time off of work for multiple days or weeks to recover, or if their medical expenses reach thousands of dollars. The sooner a victim contacts an attorney about a potential case, the sooner they can get started with the claims process.
Beginning the Claims Process
To begin building a case, claimants will work with their attorney to complete initial paperwork and file the claim, letting the defendant know about the claimant’s intentions. Depending on the statute of limitations in the state where the case takes place, claimants will have a limited amount of time to file their claim.
The Discovery Process
After initially preparing and filing the personal injury claim, the discovery process can take as long as six months to one year, or even longer. This entails uncovering the facts around the case, producing and gathering necessary documentation such as medical and police records, investigating potential disputes, researching or reconstructing the accident, and exchanging documents.
Cases may also require claimants to wait until they’ve received an official prognosis from a medical professional or reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
Taking the Case to Trial
If the parties involved don’t reach a settlement after the discovery process, claimants may choose to take the case to trial. During the trial process, parties and their attorneys will file motions and other potential arguments separately from the jury.
If the plaintiff wins the case, the defendant will pay the amount owed as determined by the jury. However, the defense may appeal for a lower settlement amount.
Generally, based on these processes, a case can take years to complete.