How Quickly Will My Personal Injury Case Be Resolved?
If you have been injured and are interested in starting the process of recovering damages through a personal injury case, you may have a lot of questions. For example, you may be wondering about what the process entails, what you can expect along the way, and how quickly your case will be resolved. While each case is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to questions about the personal injury claims process, consider the following information regarding the general timeline of a personal injury case.
Medical Treatment and Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
One thing that will have a big effect on how long your case takes to resolve is the severity of your injuries. This is because 1) you need to get medical treatment, and in the case of severe injuries, medical treatment may be ongoing for weeks or months or more and 2) you need to wait until reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) to settle your case. MMI is the point where you have ended medical treatment and have recovered from your injuries to the maximum extent possible. This is essential in a personal injury claim because it is impossible to know the full breadth of medical expenses and other noneconomic damages until MMI has been reached. For some patients, reaching MMI can take months. In some cases, reaching MMI takes years.
Investigation and Demand
While you are recovering, your lawyer will be working to investigate the cause of your accident, determine fault, identify all potentially liable parties, and determine the value of your claim. Again, how long an investigation into an accident may take depends on the type of accident in which you were involved and the complexity of the case. Some accidents–such as an accident in which a driver runs a red light, hitting a pedestrian who was lawfully within a crosswalk–are more straightforward when it comes to figuring out who is at fault and what went wrong. Fault and causation for other accidents, however, such as an accident caused by a defective product, can be much more difficult to determine.
Once your attorney has finished the investigation and has determined the value of your personal injury claim, she will send the insurance company a demand letter. A demand letter outlines the details of your case, what happened, the extent of injuries you have suffered, and how much you are demanding to be paid in compensation.
Once an insurance company has received a demand letter, it may respond to the letter in a variety of ways. Typically, an insurance company will counter with a settlement offer that is much lower than the amount demanded. When this occurs, the negotiation process ensues, with your lawyer and an insurance adjuster going back and forth multiple times to reach a settlement.
In the best of cases, negotiations are concluded in a few weeks’ time, although a few months is more likely. In some cases, a settlement is not reached. When this is the case, the next step for the plaintiff is filing a personal injury lawsuit.
If Your Case Is Litigated…
If you are unable to reach an out-of-court settlement, the only options remaining are to accept a settlement that is less than you deserve, or file a lawsuit and take your case to court. You must bring forth a lawsuit within one year from the date of the cause of action, as found in Kentucky Code Section 413.140. If you file a lawsuit, you can expect to wait months, or even more than a year, for your case to finally go to trial. However, it is possible to settle the case before the trial date.
Learn More About the Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim
In general, the personal injury claims process can take anywhere from a few months’ time to a few years’ time, depending upon the complexity of the case, the severity of injuries, and the ability for parties to reach a settlement out of court. To learn more about how long your personal injury case may take to resolve, you should contact our experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney at the law offices of Lanna Martin Kilgore, Attorney at Law, PLLC. Lanna Martin Kilgore will review your case for free and provide you with information about what you can expect as you move forward through the process. Reach our law offices today at 270-846-3700, or send us an online message.