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How Long Will it Take My Personal Injury Case to Settle?Click For Your Free Consulation
Each personal injury case and wrongful death claim are unique. Some cases may settle quickly, while it could take years to settle others. The facts and circumstances of the case have a significant impact on its timeline.
Outside factors beyond the control of the injured person or the personal injury lawyer may also affect how long it will take to settle a personal injury case.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, car accident, or other situation, our New York personal injury attorney understands your need to complete the case, get your money, and move on with your life. Our legal team diligently pursues your personal injury claim to settle your case as quickly as possible without jeopardizing the value of your claim.
Below are descriptions of the general steps in the process of handling a personal injury claim. These steps give you a general idea of the process and how long it could take to settle your case.
After an accident or injury, the first priority is your medical care. Most individuals do not begin searching for personal injury law firms until the medical bills begin to pile up or an insurance adjuster begins pressuring the person to accept a settlement offer.
Accident victims benefit from receiving prompt legal advice from a New York personal injury attorney. Our attorneys offer free consultations. It does not cost you anything to meet with an attorney even if you do not hire a lawyer.
During the initial consultation, we discuss the details of your accident and injury. Our lawyers answer your questions about personal injury claims and provide an assessment of your claim based on the information you provide. Depending on the situation and the case, an attorney could take a few days to gather more information about the case before giving you a legal opinion.
When you hire a lawyer, the lawyer begins investigating the claim and gathering evidence. You might still be under a doctor’s care and receiving medical treatment for your injuries during this time.
Investigating a claim and gathering evidence could take several weeks or months. An investigation could even take six or more months to complete in a complicated product liability case or commercial truck accident case.
All avenues of investigation must be pursued until every piece of evidence is discovered and preserved. The evidence and the facts that we obtain during the investigation are the backbone of your case. Without evidence proving negligence and fault, you cannot recover compensation for your damages.
The duration of your recovery is one of the factors that we cannot control. You never want to settle a personal injury claim until your doctor states that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and he releases you from care.
When you reach MMI, no further medical treatment is expected to improve your condition. Some individuals recover entirely from their injuries.
However, some people reach MMI and have a disabling condition. For example, your doctor states that your brain injury has caused permanent cognitive and physical impairments. There is nothing more than he can do to improve your condition. We need to know your prognosis before accepting a settlement offer because a permanent impairment significantly impacts your claim’s value.
You could require long-term personal care. You may not be able to return to work, or your earning capacity may be lower because of the disability.
Damages for future loss of income, personal care, a decrease in your quality of life, and other damages could total millions of dollars over your lifetime. Therefore, completing medical treatment is one factor that we cannot and should not rush.
Once you complete your medical care, we obtain copies of all medical records. These records are added to the evidence we collected during the investigation. An attorney drafts a settlement demand letter.
A demand letter typically includes a summary of how the accident occurred. It includes a description of your injuries and how your life has been impacted because of your injuries.
The attorney discusses the facts of the accident and how the evidence demonstrates that the other party was negligent in causing the accident.
Finally, the demand letter describes your damages and makes a demand for settlement. The attorney may include several attachments, such as copies of your medical records, proof of financial losses, and copies of relevant case law and statutes that support the allegations of fault and liability.
The package is sent to the insurance company.
The insurance company may take weeks or a few months to review the settlement demand. It may agree to the amount demanded for settlement, or it may make a counteroffer. In some cases, the insurance company may deny the claim entirely.
In most cases, the company makes a counteroffer. Negotiations begin between your attorney and the insurance company. Each party may make several counteroffers before agreeing on what each party feels is a fair settlement amount for the injury claim.
A settlement agreement is drafted, and your lawyer reviews the agreement with you. If you decide to accept the offer, you sign the agreement, and the insurance company sends the money to your lawyer.
Your lawyer must verify all amounts owed to medical providers and prepare a settlement disbursement. This step could take a few weeks. Outstanding medical bills, the attorneys’ fees, and any costs of the case are deducted from the settlement proceeds.
Your attorney may negotiate with medical providers to reduce the amount they claim. That could add some time to the process, but it could result in more money in your pocket.
You and your attorney review the settlement disbursement. If there are no issues, your attorney has you sign any final paperwork and gives you a check for the net proceeds.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith to settle the case, your attorney may advise you that it is time to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney will discuss the pros and cons of taking this action.
The statute of limitations in New York is generally three years from the date of the accident. If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline expires, you lose your right to pursue a legal claim.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. Your lawyer will calculate the deadline for filing a lawsuit and monitor the deadline throughout the case.
Once your attorney files a lawsuit, the process of preparing for trial begins. There is a discovery phase that could last six or more months. Each party can obtain information and evidence that the other party has gathered.
After discovery is complete, the parties generally attempt to negotiate a settlement again before the trial. If the case does not settle, the court places the case on the trial docket.
At the trial, both parties present their evidence and witnesses to the jury to consider. The jury renders a verdict based on the jurors’ interpretation of the evidence and applicable laws.
If either party is not satisfied with the verdict, they can file an appeal. Appeals could take several years to complete.
Your case is unique. The above steps are a general overview of the personal injury claims process. Our New York personal injury lawyer can provide much more information about the claims process during a free consultation.