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How long will it take for my Personal Injury Case to Settle?

Television and Movies are not always precise when portraying a personal injury settlement and trial procedure.  First, the majority of the ordeal is not stimulating enough for it to make a watchable television program, and second, a personal injury case is a tedious and drawn out process.

So you may wonder how long does a typical injury case take to run its course.  A personal injury case has several segments and each has its own set of procedures.  Each portion of the personal injury case process has varying timelines depending on a multitude of factors.

The most important part of the personal injury case is getting the victim back on their feet again.  This means that the primary objective after an injury is medical care. Additionally, if an ambulance is on the scene of your accident, do not play the tough guy and refuse hospital treatment.  You never know if you are in a state of shock or have internal problems.  Going to the hospital is always the safer option.  If an ambulance is unnecessary, you should still see your doctor right away.  Some of the most chronic injuries do not present themselves until hours or days after the accident.  Whiplash is notorious for not presenting any pain until days later.  Moreover, minor whiplash can leave an injury victim with long term problems.  Take care of yourself and see your doctor early and often so that you can get healthy and back on your feet as soon as possible.  The medical care part of the personal injury case could take days or last a lifetime. 

Next, if you are not injured, and there is only minor property damage, it might be best just to let your insurance company handle the situation.  If you are still not sure, you can always call an attorney and they will be able to evaluate if you have a case.  If you miss work, have large medical bills, or have injuries, you should contact an attorney immediately.  Depending on your schedule or the attorneys schedule, you should get in front of an attorney as soon as possible.  Remember the insurance company begins collecting information about your claim the moment they know it exists.  A competent attorney will do the same and commence an investigation immediately.

After choosing an attorney, you will receive an in-depth interview about everything regarding the accident.  The attorney is also concerned with your past and current medical history. You need to go into the interview with the understanding that you may have to tell the attorney very personal information.  This should not make you worried.  Attorneys perhaps have the strictest confidentiality requirements out of any profession. Your attorney is there to help you.  The interview process should only take a day or two. 

After the interview, the attorney will order all of your medical records and make a further evaluation of your case.  It often takes weeks or months for the attorney to get access to all of your medical records. Furthermore, it can take weeks to look over all of these records.  Evaluating your previous and current medical history gives the attorney a better idea of the likelihood of success for your case. 

Minor injuries cases are often settled before a lawsuit is filed. In more serious accidents, attorneys may wait to file a demand until the client has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). “The date of ‘maximum medical improvement’ means the date after which further recovery from, or lasting improvement to, an injury or disease can no longer reasonably be anticipated, based upon reasonable medical probability. So long as a need for medical treatment exists and there is a reasonable expectation that further improvement is possible, the claimant cannot be considered to have reached MMI. Thus, a finding of MMI is precluded where treatment is being provided with a reasonable expectation that it will bring about some degree of recovery even if the treatment ultimately proves ineffective.” Maximum Medical Improvement, 58 Fla. Jurisprudence § 187, Second Edition (2014). Waiting for a client to reach MMI could take months or even years.  Demands can also be filed prior to MMI.  Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA employs a much different strategy when handling pre-suit claims.  Our strategy involves working with the insurance company much sooner than an MMI determination being declared. 

After a suit is filed, the discovery process will begin.  Both parties will request documents from each other and conduct a complete investigation.  Either side may hire expert witnesses or accident reconstruction experts.  This process can take months or even years and cost thousands of dollars.  Towards the end of discovery, the parties might begin discussing settlements.  At this time, numerous months or years have gone by from the initial accident. 

Settling a case can involve something called mediation.  Mediation is a process where opposing parties come together with a non-biased third party mediator to work towards a settlement. This is a more casual atmosphere than a courtroom.  It is always great when a case can be settled in mediation, but sometimes this is not possible. Mediation can last an hour or up to two or three days. If there is no settlement, the case is set for trial. 

According to a Department of Justice study, the average length of time for lawsuits:

• 23 months for a civil suit,

• 0 months for an automobile accident case,

• 31 months for a medical malpractice case,

• 24 months for a premises liability cases, and

• 25 months for an intentional tort cases.

A personal injury case can be lengthy and exasperating for all parties involved.  That is why it is essential that you have an experienced attorney who will guide you through the maze and obstacles ahead.  Your attorney should speak with you throughout each stage of the case so you know how your case is progressing.  The attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA give all of their clients their personal contact information so that the attorney and client are in frequent communication about each portion of the case. The Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA prides itself in attorney-client communication.  Please call Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA if you have any questions. 

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765