Have you been injured in a car accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall, or another personal injury scenario? If so, you might wonder how long it will take to settle your personal injury case. Naturally, you want to settle your personal injury case quickly, but you do not want to rush to settlement if it means receiving a much lower settlement amount.
Each personal injury claim is unique. The timeline of a personal injury case depends on the factors involved. Factors that can impact the timeline for a personal injury settlement include:
- The type of personal injury law involved in the case
- The parties involved in the case
- Whether you sustained catastrophic injuries or permanent impairments
- The insurance company’s willingness to settle the claim
- If you could be partially to blame for causing the accident
- The duration of your recovery
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit
Some accident cases settle faster than others. However, the steps in a personal injury case, according to a personal injury lawyer, usually include the following:
Seeking Medical Treatment for Injuries
After an accident or injury, seeking immediate medical treatment for injuries is essential. You need medical records to link the accident to your injuries. If you cannot prove the other party’s conduct caused your injuries, you cannot recover compensation from that party.
Furthermore, prompt medical care might avoid claims you failed to mitigate damages. The insurance company could claim that you are responsible for making your condition worse by delaying your care. Therefore, you are not entitled to compensation for the damages associated with your failure to seek prompt medical treatment.
Talking With a Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney
Schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Phoenix as soon as possible. The sooner the lawyer begins working on your case, the better chance the attorney has of preserving the evidence needed to win your case.
Furthermore, there are time limits for filing a personal injury claim. Missing the filing deadline in the Arizona statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit means you give up your right to pursue a legal claim in court.
Investigating the Accident Claim
Injured victims have the burden of proving the other party caused their injuries. Your Phoenix personal injury attorney conducts an independent investigation to determine how the accident occurred.
Evidence in a personal injury case includes, but is not limited to:
- Police, incident, and accident reports
- Medical records
- Statements made by the parties involved in the case
- Video of the accident as it occurred
- Physical evidence from the accident scene
- Photographs of the accident site
- Eyewitness statements
- Opinions and evidence from expert witnesses
The investigation also helps the attorney identify all parties who could be liable for your damages. Identifying all parties responsible for causing your injury gives you access to more sources of compensation for damages.
Filing Insurance Claims
Liability insurance coverage pays injured parties when an insured party is responsible for causing their injuries in a covered incident. For example, Arizona requires drivers to have minimum amounts of automobile insurance coverage. Therefore, if another driver causes your car accident, you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider.
Filing insurance claims is generally the first step in pursuing a personal injury claim. Most cases settle through negotiations with the insurance company.
You need to be cautious when dealing with insurance adjusters. They work for the insurance company, so they protect the company’s best interests.
The statements you make to the insurance company could be intentionally misinterpreted to allege you admitted fault for causing your injury. Therefore, allowing your Phoenix personal injury lawyer to handle all communications with the insurance company is best.
Preparing a Settlement Demand Letter and Negotiating a Settlement
When you complete medical treatment, your lawyer prepares a settlement demand letter. The letter explains the legal reason why you are entitled to compensation and the amount you demand to settle your claim.
Most personal injury cases include compensation for economic damages and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Future damages for loss of earning capacity, ongoing medical care, and long-term nursing care
The insurance company will likely offer a counterclaim for a lower amount. Your attorney anticipates this tactic and factors that into the amount they demand for settlement.
Back-and-forth negotiations could take several months. However, in many cases, the parties agree to a settlement amount.
Receiving and Disbursing the Personal Injury Settlement Check
Once you agree to a settlement amount, you sign a settlement agreement, and the insurance company issues a settlement check to your lawyer. Your lawyer deducts the contingency fee and costs from the check, pays outstanding medical liens, and issues a net check to you.
A contingency fee is a percentage of the amount recovered in your case. Most Phoenix personal injury law firms work on a contingency fee basis. That allows you to hire a lawyer without paying any attorneys’ fees upfront.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company, your attorney might advise filing a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit can lengthen the time it takes to settle a personal injury case. The timeline for a lawsuit could be a year or longer.
Steps in a personal injury lawsuit usually include the following:
- Filing a summons and complaint
- Serving the complaint on the defendants (alleged at-fault parties)
- Receiving responses and answers to the complaint
- Discovery phase (exchanging evidence and information with the other party)
- Settlement negotiations and/or mediation
- Pre-trial motions
Filing a personal injury lawsuit does not guarantee payment for your damages. You could lose the case or receive a judgment you cannot collect.
Before you file a lawsuit, your attorney discusses the strengths and weaknesses of your case. In some situations, it might be better to accept a slightly lower settlement offer than to take the case to court. It all depends on the specific facts of the case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers
The best way to learn more about the timeline for your personal injury case is to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Phoenix personal injury attorneys by calling (602) 595-5559 today. At Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers we can answer your questions, explain your legal options, and tell you how we can help you recover the money you deserve after an accident or injury.