The timeline for an Albuquerque personal injury case to settle depends on the factors and circumstances of the situation. Some personal injury cases settle quicker than other cases. Therefore, you should not base the timeline of settling your Albuquerque personal injury case on others.
Instead, it helps you understand the factors that impact the timeline for settlement of personal injury cases. You might discover ways to speed up the process by understanding the following considerations.
Factors That Affect the Time It Takes To Settle an Albuquerque Personal Injury Case
The factors that could impact how long it takes your Albuquerque personal injury case to settle include, but are not limited to:
The Type of Personal Injury Case
The kind of personal injury case in question can impact the settlement timeline. Some cases are inherently more complicated to pursue. For example, medical malpractice and product liability often require hiring expert witnesses. It takes time to locate an expert and for the expert to review your case, complete their analysis, and submit an opinion.
Another complication that could extend the settlement timeline is having multiple parties involved in a case. For instance, multiple parties could be liable for a truck accident case. Each party will likely dispute liability for damages, so they will conduct extensive investigations that take time to complete.
Completing the Investigation and Evidence Gathering
Your Albuquerque personal injury lawyer will conduct an independent investigation to determine how you were injured and identify all parties who could potentially be liable for damages. It could take weeks or months to complete the investigation and evidence gathering.
As the injured party, you have the burden of proving your case. As a result, your attorney must gather sufficient evidence to prove each legal element, or you may not win your case. Evidence in a personal injury case could include, but is not limited to:
- Copies of accident and police reports
- Opinions and evidence from expert witnesses
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Physical evidence from the accident scene
- Videos and photographs of the accident occurring
- Medical records
- Proof of lost wages and income
- Insurance documents
The more evidence you have proving your case, the more your position to negotiate a settlement strengthens. Completing a comprehensive investigation to gather evidence could speed up the negotiation process.
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, is when your doctor states you have recovered from your injuries. For some individuals, MMI means a full recovery. However, MMI can also mean you have a disabling condition that will unlikely improve with continued treatment.
Examples of disabilities and impairments include:
- Severe burns
- Loss of bodily functions
- Traumatic brain injury
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Damage to internal organs
- Cognitive impairments
- Spinal cord injuries
- PTSD and other psychological conditions
The severity of the disability directly impacts the value of your personal injury case. Generally, as the severity of the disability increases, the value of damages increases. You could be entitled to compensation for future damages, including ongoing medical treatments, personal care, diminished quality of life, reduction in earning capacity, and long-term care.
The duration of your recovery cannot be rushed. You need to wait until your doctor tells you that you have reached MMI and gives you an impairment rating. Settling before this point in your personal injury case could mean losing significant compensation.
If you have a permanent impairment, it also increases the settlement timeline. Your attorney will likely hire experts to assist in defining the severity of your impairment and calculating the future damages associated with the impairment. Being patient during this process could mean receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in future damages.
Willingness of the Insurance Company To Settle
After you reach MMI and complete the investigation, your Albuquerque personal injury attorney prepares a settlement demand package. The package contains a demand letter outlining the facts of the case, your injuries, the amount of damages, and the legal basis for holding the other party liable for your economic and non-economic damages.
It could take weeks for the insurance company to review the demand letter and package. The insurance company often makes a counteroffer for a lower settlement amount. The counteroffer begins the settlement negotiations.
Settlement negotiations could take weeks or months and might involve mediation, which is less expensive than a personal injury trial. If the insurance company is reasonable, you should be able to agree upon an amount for settlement.
However, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, you might have no choice but to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Albuquerque, MN
Filing a lawsuit lengthens the time to resolve a personal injury claim. There are several steps involved in a court case. Generally, your lawsuit will not go to trial, as settlement negotiations can still continue. Part of the reason for this is the pre-trial discovery process, by which each party gives potential evidence to the other. This process takes time but could reveal the proof needed to win your case.
Your attorney can explain the pros and cons of accepting a settlement offer versus taking your case to trial. Experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyers understand these complex issues and can guide you on how to proceed. However, the final decision is yours to make.
Monitoring the Statute of Limitations for an Albuquerque Personal Injury Case
Sometimes, a personal injury case could drag on for reasons that are not in anyone’s control. On the other hand, the insurance company and other parties could intentionally delay the settlement timeline to pressure you into accepting a settlement offer.
The New Mexico statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. The court can dismiss a lawsuit filed after the deadline, even though the injured party has a legally valid claim.
Under New Mexico law, the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit is usually three years for most cases. However, exceptions could shorten or lengthen that time. Talk with an attorney after an injury or accident as soon as possible to protect your right to file a court case seeking damages.
Call For a Free Consultation With Our Albuquerque Personal Injury Lawyers
Is the insurance company refusing to act in good faith to settle your personal injury case? If so, you need to talk with an Albuquerque personal injury attorney. An attorney of Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers will advise you of your legal options and explain the best way to force the insurance company to treat your claim fairly. Contact our law firm by calling (505) 594-3621 today.