Personal injury lawsuit plaintiffs often wonder how long their cases will take and when they will receive their settlements or awards
There are several parts or stages of a personal injury claim leading to its conclusion. The first stage depends on the length of our client's recovery from their injuries. The end of this stage is reached either when the client has recovered and is discharged from medical treatment, or when the client has reached the point where - in the opinion of their treating doctor - the client has reached their maximum recovery and whatever residual problems the client still has are essentially permanent.a claimant facing a permanent disability needs to know the prognosis to arrive at an appropriate settlement demand and avoid a situation in which a settlement is accepted in the first few weeks of a case, even before a doctor's visit, and later complications and injuries are discovered. Some injuries are complex and significant enough to require months for accurate prognosis and treatment, and may require consultation with multiple doctors.
Most cases require that the lawyer nurture the case
Most cases require that the lawyer nurture the case. That means a case that has good liability and moderate to serious injuries with a fair amount of insurance will not settle quickly. These cases need attention on a regular basis from the lawyer to make sure the proper medical records are in the file, the client is continuing to see his doctors, experts are being retained and most importantly the defedants are exchanging the discovery needed by the plaintiff.
It may take a year after the accident before a doctor can say the injuries are permanent
It takes time to determine the full extent of your injuries. Doctors are often unable to give an opinion about the seriousness of an injury until the patient's condition has stabilized. In serious injury cases, it may take a year after the accident before a doctor can say the injuries are permanent.
It's very important to take the necessary time to fully evaluate your injuries. You have only one chance to prove the extent to which you and your family have been harmed. Once you take a settlement offer or get a verdict at trial, that decision is final. You can't go back and ask for more money if you later find out your injuries are more serious than you thought.
Because every situation is unique - the parties involved, the complexity of the accident, and the medium of settlement - it is impossible to determine beforehand how long any one personal injury case will take. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation, your case could last much longer than another one.
After you have reached maximum recovery
After you have reached maximum recovery a settlement demand package can be sent to the insurance company. Aa settlement demand package is a very important part in the process of settling the accident injury claim. Often times this package is the one and only time the insurance adjustor will have complete exposure to the facts of the case and the extent of the damages being claimed.
Settlement demand package
?A complete discussion and analysis of the facts of the accident and the laws that may apply
?Incident reports or police reports
?Copies of pleadings that are ready to be filed in court in the event that the settlement does not occur
?Photos of the accident scene or the injuries
?Medical records and reports
?Expert reports (e.g. physician, economist, vocational expert, accident reconstructionist, etc)
?Video re-enactments and/or computer simulations
?Video testimony from witnesses and/or experts
By providing a comprehensive and persuasive settlement demand package, you are also helping the insurance adjustor build the file so that the company can justify paying out a large settlement.
By providing a comprehensive and persuasive settlement demand package, it gives the insurance company a number of reasons for settling the claim immediately and fairly rather than going to court
When a damand does not result in a settlement mediation may work
Most lawyers will have a face-to-face meeting with their clients prior to mediation to discuss what mediation entails and to get authority to settle your case for a certain amount. It is important that your attorney knows your "bottom line" settlement number before mediation. Sometimes he will have you sign a written authorization allowing him to accept any settlement offer at or above the amount you tell him. This is to avoid any miscommunication about how much money you will settle for before he begins negotiating at mediation.
When coming up with your settlement number, keep in mind that attorney's fees, costs, and medical liens will have to be deducted from this amount.
Trial- When settlement can't be reached
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information (in the form of evidence) in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court. The tribunal, which may occur before a judge, jury, or other designated trier of fact, aims to achieve a resolution to their dispute.Where the trial is held before a group of members of the community, it is called a jury trial. Where the trial is held solely before a judge, it is called a bench trial.
Bench trials are often resolved faster. Furthermore, a favorable ruling for one party in a bench trial will frequently lead the other party to offer a settlement.
Hearings before administrative bodies may have many of the features of a trial before a court, but are typically not referred to as trials.
Additional resources provided by the author
Howard Roitman, Esq.
8921 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89117