How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?
Every personal injury case is different. Some may resolve in a few months; others may take several years. My experience suggests that the average case takes, roughly, two years to resolve, some, through trials and appeals, may take many years to resolve. The first year is devoted your injury, diagnosing, treating and, hopefully, improving your condition. On the legal side, your personal injury lawyer will perform initial case investigation and records compilation, and notify the defendant and his insurance company of the claim. Perhaps he/she will formally file the lawsuit. The personal injury attorney will also begin the process of placing a "value" on the case.
The single most important factor in determining the ultimate value of any personal injury case (assuming liability is established or, at least, somewhat obvious) is the extent to which the injured party has suffered a serious or permanent injury. This can be categorized as an injury that has had serious physical consequences, whether eventually healed or not, or one that the victim must endure consequences of for the rest of his/her life. Because these are important factors, settlement negotiations should not get underway until a doctor determines the ‘permanence’ or ‘seriousness’ of the injury and renders an opinion. This can, simply, take the form of a letter from a doctor, stating “it is my opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the patient has suffered the following permanent/serious injuries and limitations as a result of the accident: [specific, descriptive statement of injuries is placed here]. It is important that the doctor not only state the injuries, its’ seriousness/permanency, but, also, that he relates the injury to the accident that is the subject of the litigation. As a lawsuit funding professional underwriter, I have reviewed numerous files where the medical records fail to sufficiently link the injury with the accident; in the litigation business this is called establishing proximate cause. If there is no proximate cause, there is no case; if there is no case, there can be no legal finance.
Most doctors will not provide a permanency/seriousness opinion until their patient’s condition has “stabilized” – the patient is not getting better nor getting worse. Typically, doctors’ will use one year post-injury as the general rule of thumb for determining permanency.
It is almost never a good idea to resolve your case too quickly (unless you have established policy limits, your attorney advises that policy limits are all that is available to you because the defendant is not otherwise collectable, and the insurance company has agreed to tender the policy limits). Do not rush a case to settlement, because once your case is resolved, releases are signed and checks are distributed, there are no “do-overs”; the case is over; it is settled, always and forever. You need to make sure that you know the full extent of your permanent limitations before settling your case.
Additionally, it is not in your best interest to rush your personal injury attorney into seeking immediate case resolution, because if the insurance company realizes you are eager to settle, the insurance company will exploit your eagerness and provide inadequate, low-ball settlement offers in an attempt to get you to settle early and cheap. This is a very common tactic that many insurance companies use to reach a quick, inexpensive settlement. Resist the temptation for quick money to ensure that you receive every penny you are entitled. If you need immediate money for important bills or expenses, like mortgage payments, rent, tuition, food, etc., litigation funding from Lawsuit Financial may be available to bridge the gap between the first settlement offer and an appropriate resolution of your case. Ask your attorney for advice on whether lawsuit funding may or may not be appropriate in your situation.
If you have been seriously injured and have not yet retained an attorney, we can assist you in finding an attorney in your area that specializes in the type of incident that caused your injury. Call Lawsuit Financial toll free at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) or visit the referral page of our website and take advantage of our free attorney referral service. You may also submit a contact form to request additional information.
If you have an attorney, and need lawsuit funding contact Lawsuit Financial. If you qualify for litigation funding, we will provide you with the money you need now to help pay household bills, medical expenses, mortgage payments, utility bills or any other important expense, while you and your lawyer pursue your case. If you win your case, you repay principal and scheduled profit; if you lose, you keep our lawsuit cash, free of charge. The call is free; the advice is priceless. Call us today at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) or visit us on the web at www.lawsuitfinancial.com. Good luck in your pursuit of justice.