HOW LONG WILL MY CASE TAKE AND WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
We speak to people on a weekly basis about accident cases and naturally people involved in accidents have talked to friends, family, co-workers, etc. It is important to remember that every case is different and that just because a friend of a friend's case may have taken eleven years to resolve, it does not mean that your case will. It is extremely important to make certain before resolving your case that your case is READY to be settled or tried. What does “READY TO BE SETTLED OR TRIED” mean?
If you are receiving medical treatment and experiencing difficulty with your injuries, then it is not advisable to resolve your case at that time. Instead, you should wait until your treatment has concluded, or until your doctor tells you that you have recovered as much as you will ever recover. It is also important to understand the severity of your medical condition so that you are able to demonstrate to the insurance company, and the jury if necessary, how significant your injuries are.
Once you settle with the insurance company, or once you go to court and try your case, you will no longer be able to receive payment or compensation for further medical expenses, wage loss, pain, suffering, inconvenience etc. It is important to remember that a person involved in an accident should make certain that they have reached maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement simply means you have recovered as much as you will ever improve, i.e. “you are as good as you are going to get”. As an example, I met with a very nice lady several years ago who had settled her claim with the insurance company two months after her accident.
Unfortunately, about fourteen months later she needed surgery. At this point the defendant's insurance carrier was not required to pay because she had already settled and signed a release. Unfortunately for this nice lady, she did not have health insurance to pay for her surgery. In a nutshell, a personal injury case can be settled within a few months of an accident or it could take several years to resolve, depending on the facts of each particular case.