Settling a Personal Injury Claim: How Long Does It Take?
If you are involved in an accident at work, while driving, or in a public place, you should seriously consider getting legal representation. Even though you may feel alright after the accident, personal injuries could show up later that may affect your ability to work as well as your overall comfort and health for the rest of your life.
Good legal advice is that if you are injured, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible – even the day of the accident. This way, the events of the accident are clear in your mind. The lawyer you meet with will know what questions to ask to help you remember all the important details. The lawyer may even make an audio recording of your conversation. That way, if the matter goes to court over the next several months or even years, the initial notes or recording can be reviewed for even the smallest details. There are many good personal injury lawyers in Bradenton, FL, who can help.
Judgments and Settlements
Legal consultations do not cost anything. Even the top personal injury lawyers only get paid if they win your case, and the court awards you a financial judgment. The other scenario is when your lawyer negotiates a settlement on your behalf. For example, let’s say you were hurt on the job. Your employer was negligent in providing the proper safety equipment according to federal law. It is clear that your employer was a fault. To avoid going to court, which is an expensive proposition with no guarantee of a win, your company’s legal representatives may meet with your lawyer, and the two sides will hammer out an acceptable financial settlement to compensate for your injury.
The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly
They say in the legal profession that the wheels of justice grind slowly. Lawsuits can take months, even years to be resolved. Let’s say your employer, the defendant, does not want to settle the case but would rather go to court. You, the plaintiff, win at trial and are awarded a financial judgment to be paid by the defendant. Even though you won, your company has the option to appeal the court’s decision to a higher appellate court. This is known as the appeals process. Basically, you’re looking at another trial and all the months it takes to prepare and attend the trial. And then, the higher court could reverse the lower court’s decision and you won’t receive any compensation. For these reasons, lawsuits can take a long time to get resolved.
But depending on the situation, some personal injury claims can be settled within a few months. If you are involved in a car accident, for example, the other driver’s insurance company could offer you a settlement rather quickly. It may seem like a lot of money, but before you accept the settlement, you should consult with a lawyer. The goal of the insurance company is to pay you as little as possible. Having a lawyer on your side can almost always guarantee a higher settlement for you.
Other personal injury claims can take a long time to resolve, especially if there are disputes over the extent and nature of a person’s injuries. In this case, both sides of the personal injury claim will need to seek medical experts to evaluate your medical conditions. The insurance company’s medical experts will almost always disagree with the plaintiff’s medical experts. If no settlement amount can be agreed to, the case will head to court where a judge or jury will look at the evidence presented by both the defendant and plaintiff and issue a financial judgment to be paid by the defendant or declare the defendant as not guilty of causing harm.
By federal law, all drivers are required to have car insurance, and companies are required to have workman’s compensation insurance. Insurance companies have financial limits for all their insurance policies and will fight not to pay over those limits. For example, let’s say you sustain a certain back injury at work. The insurance company has data on the average cost for rehabilitation for that particular injury, and they are willing to pay out that much money.
But your situation may be outside the norm, and this is why hiring one of the personal injury lawyers in Bradenton, FL, is important. A lawyer will work with a team of experts to establish, with evidence, why the settlement offer from the insurance company is inadequate. These experts include an array of medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, etc. The process takes time as all these people need to do their research, write up their findings, and present this information to your lawyer. Then your lawyer needs to review this information and put together a just financial amount for your case.
Then the back and forth begins between your lawyer and the insurance company. With the threat of a lawsuit hanging over their heads, the insurance company will weigh the evidence from your attorney and determine if they should pay more money or let the matter go to court and have a judge or jury decide what is fair, just, and equitable.
To learn more about settling a personal injury claim and the length of the process, call Erjavec Injury Law at 941-907-1133.