How Long Will It Take My Personal Injury Case to Settle?
As you get ready to file a lawsuit against the individual that caused you to suffer injuries in a slip and fall or a car accident, you likely have only one question on your mind:
“How long will it take my personal injury case to settle?”
The trust is that there’s no standard timeframe for settling a personal injury case. Several factors can cause settlement negotiations to go quickly or drag out. Here, our Mobile personal injury lawyers discuss everything you need to know about what might affect how long it takes to settle a personal injury case.
An Overview of the Personal Injury Claims Process in Alabama
To understand the length of time it is likely to take to settle your case, you must first learn more about how the claims process works in Alabama. Though the exact details can change from case to case, the vast majority of lawsuits in the Yellowhammer State follow this path:
- Initial Filing: Personal injury lawsuits begin when the plaintiff files a petition with the court. These legal documents usually take a few weeks to prepare.
- Service of Process: Once the plaintiff files a lawsuit with the court, they must also provide a copy to the defendant or their lawyer. This process can take as little as a week or as long as three months.
- Service Response: When a defendant receives a copy of the lawsuit filed against them, they must submit a response to the court. In most cases, they must do so in less than one month.
- Discovery: During the discovery phase of the legal process, the defendant and plaintiff exchange evidence that they intend to use at trial. This stage of the process can last for up to one year.
- Trial: Once discovery concludes, the judge issues a court date. They usually pick a date that is at least a few weeks into the future. The trial itself rarely lasts more than a couple of days.
If one party takes issue with the outcome of the trial, they can file an appeal. In doing so, they can extend the life of the case by up to two years.
When Do Personal Injury Cases in Alabama Usually Settle?
Alabama law grants the parties involved in car wrecks and animal attacks to settle their dispute at almost any time. If they wish, injured parties may accept an offer as soon as a few hours after the incident or as late as the day of their trial.
In reality, however, extreme scenarios of this nature do not happen often. The majority of personal injury and wrongful death cases settle during the discovery phase of the claims process. Agreements generally happen during this stage because it is the first time the two parties can look at the evidence the other has against them.
Browsing through boxes of medical records and witness statements tends to spur defendants and their insurance companies to start engaging in substantive negotiations.
Factors That May Increase the Length of Your Personal Injury Case
When an injured party files a lawsuit against a reckless person, they hope to resolve the matter as quickly and painlessly as possible. Unfortunately, several factors may increase the amount of time it takes to settle cases of this nature.
Negotiations can be drawn out if:
- There’s Delay in Beginning the Case: The standard statute of limitations for personal injury claims in the state of Alabama is two years. However, the longer you wait to begin pursuing damages, the longer you will have to wait for your case to settle.
- You’re Dealing With Uncooperative Insurance Companies: It is not at all unusual for insurance companies to refuse to cooperate with compensation claims. If this nightmare scenario happens to you, there is a chance that you will have to wait a while to finalize your settlement.
- There Are Multiple Unrelated Defendants: If your personal injury case involves multiple unrelated defendants, it will be more complicated than a standard claim. As such, it is likely to take longer to resolve.
- The Nature of Your Injury is Severe: The length of your case is likely to depend on the amount of time it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement. This is because the insurance company will want to know how much your medical treatments cost before releasing any money.
If you would like to reduce the impact factors like these have on your lawsuit, you would be smart to enlist an experienced attorney’s services. Get in touch with Lattof & Lattof, PC, today to get started.
How a Skilled Lawyer Can Help Your Personal Injury Case Run Smoothly
If you want your personal injury case to settle quickly, you would be wise to hire an experienced attorney to represent you throughout the process.
They can help your lawsuit run smoothly by:
- Conducting a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident
- Helping you understand how the Alabama legal system works
- Developing a smart legal strategy for your personal injury case
- Searching for evidence to convince the other party to settle quickly
- Walking you through your potential legal options
- Communicating with the defendant’s insurance company for you
- Speaking with relevant experts about the details of your case
- Providing you with honest answers to all your legal questions
- Offering you sound legal advice at every stage of your case
- Identifying the party that is responsible for causing your injuries
- Handling the settlement negotiations on your behalf
To arrange a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, all you need to do is pick up the phone and call Lattof & Lattof, PC.
We are always available to assist our neighbors in Mobile, AL.
How Much Money Will You Receive When Your Case Settles?
Whether it takes six months or two years to settle your case, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on a number of factors.
This can include:
- The cost of your immediate medical care
- The fees attached to your ongoing healthcare needs
- The expenses associated with your therapy and rehabilitation
- The number of hours you miss from work due to your injuries
- The effect your injuries will have on your ability to earn a living
- The cost to repair or replace your damaged personal property
- The mental pain you endured because of your injuries
- The impact your injuries will have on your overall quality of life
- The limits on the liable party’s insurance policy
Generally speaking, the more severe and life-altering your injuries are, the more money the insurance adjuster is likely to offer you in your settlement deal.
With the aid of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you should be able to pursue compensation for damages like:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing care costs
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of future earnings
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
When the at-fault party acts with malice, you might also be able to seek punitive damages – which can be as high as $500,000 in Alabama.
How Long Will It Take My Personal Injury Case to Settle? Call Lattof & Lattof, PC, for More Information
“How long will it take my personal injury case to settle?” We hope we have given you all the info you need to answer this common question. However, if you need to clarify any of these points, please do not hesitate to call the legal team at Lattof & Lattof, PC, in Mobile, Alabama. We will be more than happy to assist you.