Most people who have suffered in an accident want everything resolved yesterday. Accidents can bring a lot of pain, a lot of stress, and a lot of financial problems. Everyone has a worry that how long will my personal injury claim take.
Unfortunately, personal injury claims rarely move as quickly as our clients would like. There are a few milestones that have to take place before there can be any hope of a fair settlement offer.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Your lawyer won’t even have a baseline for negotiating your personal injury claim settlement if you haven’t achieved maximum medical improvement. This means that while you may need follow-up care, you’ve healed as much as you’re going to heal. The doctor is ready to issue a long-term prognosis.
MMI lets us get the exact numbers on your special damages: that is, the damages that have a specific price tag associated with them. It’s a bare minimum for the start of the negotiations. By this point, we’ll also have an idea of what to ask for on your general damages, such as pain and suffering.
Discovery and Negotiation
Discovery, the process of nailing down the facts of the case and examining all the witnesses prior to trial, can take several months. It can also take several months for each side to evaluate the true strength of their cases.
Negotiation can take some time as well, even if both sides are trying to be reasonable and fair. The insurance company’s lawyers still have a duty to get the best deal they can possibly get for their clients, just as we have a duty to get the best deal we can possibly get for you.
Cases That Go to Trial
95% of personal injury cases don’t go to trial, and ideally, your case won’t go trial either. If your case does go to trial, you can expect a few more delays.
Getting a trial date can take several months, and trials can take several weeks. Your best bet, through this process, is to have as much patience as possible.
Remember, all this time is likely to get you three to ten times as much money as you’d have gotten if you’d have just accepted some lowball offer from the insurance company to hurry the process along.
In a personal injury case, time really is money.