Personal Injury Cases: Dealing With Timing Concerns
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is not something most people do often. A seriously traumatic injury or loss takes a toll on the victim, and filing a personal injury lawsuit takes strength, time and patience during an already distressing time. Most accident victims don’t know what they’re getting into when they begin to file, but they know that filing is the only way to get compensation to cover their accident-related expenses, including medical bills, hospitalizations, repairs, therapy costs and more.
One of the first questions an accident victim typically asks is: “How long will this take?” Unfortunately, there is no “standard” answer for a personal injury lawsuit, as the timing of each case varies based on several factors, including but not limited to the injuries sustained, the parties involved and the settlement proposed.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a slip-and-fall or any other negligence case, it may take some time for your injuries to heal enough for you to even consider a lawsuit. Following a traumatic injury, it may be hard for some victims to think about litigation immediately. A concussion, for example, requires a time of rest before serious work or exercise can be resumed. Some injuries could delay a personal injury case or could stall a case in progress if they flare up at a later time.
Once you’ve been released from medical treatment or you have been ruled to have reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI) by your doctor, your case can move to a settlement. In some cases, this determination does not necessarily mean you are fully healed — MMI refers to the maximum amount of physical recovery your doctor anticipates you will make. Your condition has stabilized and even with additional treatment, you will most likely not continue to improve. At this point, the full extent of your lasting injuries can be determined, and it will be used when negotiating a fair settlement.
After you’ve reached MMI, your attorney will go over your final medical record and any bills you’ve accumulated during your time of injury. You’ll need to include notice from your work or employer, indicating how much time (if any) you’ve missed while you were injured, and any limitations you may have as a result of the injuries you sustained.
Based on these documents, your attorney will prepare a settlement demand to be submitted to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This demand lists what you went through, as well as what expenses you’ve accumulated, and it provides a dollar amount to settle the claim. Preparation of a demand can take two months, in some cases.
Negotiating a final determination takes time as well, and may be the longest part of your personal injury claim. The at-fault party’s insurance company will make an initial offer to settle the claim, and you and your attorney will likely counter. Negotiations will go back and forth from there. If both parties can’t agree, the case may end up in court.
Start the Process
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it’s important that you start the process of filing a personal injury claim as soon as you can, as they can take a long time to be resolved. For more information about your legal options, contact a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law today.