How Long Should I Expect My Personal Injury Case to Last?
You got injured, and you’re considering hiring a personal injury attorney to help you with your claim. You’re also wondering: how long should I expect my personal injury case to last? You don’t want this lawsuit to go on for years and you’re hoping to get back to your life as soon as possible.
If this sounds familiar, we are here for you. Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients who have been injured. We have recovered more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the compensation to which you are entitled.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Last?
According to one survey, the average time it takes to resolve a personal injury case is around 11 months. How long a personal injury case will last depends on many factors.
For instance, your injuries will play a huge part in how long your case ends up taking. If you suffer from minor injuries from for example, a slip and fall or a car accident, your case is likely to take less time than it would if your claim involved something that may require many months or years of treatment, such as a spinal cord injury. The latter case may be more complicated, and increased treatment time will likely increase the time it takes to handle your claim.
Your involvement can also help move your claim along. This means that you’re going to your doctors’ appointments and being vigilant about your medical care. Responding to your lawyer in a timely manner and providing them with all requested information in a prompt fashion will help them present your claim in a timely manner.
If you don’t know who injured you – or it isn’t clear who was at fault – your case is probably going to take longer. The more investigation needed in your claim – the longer it may take.
Liability will also greatly affect the length of time it takes to resolve your claim. For example, if there is a dispute as to who caused a motor vehicle accident, the other driver’s insurance may refuse to make any offers, requiring the filing of a lawsuit and, potentially, a jury verdict to resolve your claim – this will lengthen the amount of time needed and could result in it taking a number of years to resolve your claim.
Your attorney will be able to provide you some insight as to the reasonableness of offers that are being made to resolve your claim. Since it is your claim and you have ultimate settlement authority, your reasonableness when it comes to accepting settlement offers can also shorten or prolong the length of time it takes to resolve your case.
What to Do After an Accident
After you get injured, the first step is to collect evidence. You, or someone else if you are unable, should take photographs of the scene of the accident, damage to your things, and visible injuries you might have. If vehicles are involved, take photos of the vehicles and anything unusual at the scene (construction or roadwork etc.) and get the driver’s insurance information from all involved parties. If the case involves a slip and fall or other dangerous condition of property, make sure to have photos taken of the dangerous condition.
With any accident, look around for cameras and note their locations, just in case they were recording what happened. You should also ask witnesses for statements and collect their contact information if you end up needing more details for your lawsuit.
You should probably call the police and have them come to the scene to file a report. If you were in a slip and fall, you should notify the property owner about your incident and get their insurance information.
Most importantly, you should contact emergency medical personnel if you are unable to leave the scene on your own. Seek immediate medical treatment either by going to the hospital or your doctor. Follow all doctor’s and complete all prescribed treatment.
You may hear from the responsible party’s insurance party. Hold off on speaking with them until you have had a chance to consult with a personal injury attorney.
The Personal Injury Case Process
You and your personal injury lawyer will meet to discuss your case. They will go over the facts of your incident and advise you as to your legal options. You’ll need to provide them with all evidence you have gathered including contact information for all parties and witnesses and providing them with any photos and insurance information available to you.
Your lawyer will request a copy of your medical records either from you or your doctor. They will advise you to complete all prescribed treatment. Your treatment may involve physical therapy or other modalities that could last several months. Most of the time, you will want to wait until your treatment is completed before entertaining any settlement offers.
The amount of settlement will depend on damages suffered. This may include medical bills (past and future), lost wages and/or earning capacity, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. You may also recover for things such as loss of enjoyment of life if you can no longer participate in your favorite activities. If you suffered from a traumatic, lifelong injury as a result of your accident, the damages will be higher.
Your personal injury attorneys will likely take your case on a contingency basis. This means that their fee will be a percentage of your recovery. If there is not recovery, there is no fee.
One thing to be mindful of is the time limit to bring a lawsuit for personal injury. This will vary based on the circumstances and, in certain instances, can be as short as six (6) months! Because of this, it’s best to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer immediately after your incident. It’s also important to consult with an attorney soon after an incident for the purposes of preserving evidence (i.e. the dangerous condition(s) that caused the injury and to record fresh memories of what occurred via statements). There may be other steps that need to be taken to preserve your claim – your attorney can advise you as to these.
Contact Heiting & Irwin for Help Now
If you, or a loved one, were injured and you’re looking for help, consult a personal injury lawyer today. Heiting & Irwin are here for you in your time of need. We have dealt with many personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online at hilegalgroup.com or call us at 951-682-6400.