If you or somebody you care about is injured by the careless or negligent actions of another person, business, or entity, you may wonder how long it will take for you to secure the compensation you need. The timeline of a personal injury case will vary depending on the circumstances related to each particular situation. There are many factors that go into successfully resolving a personal injury claim. Here, we want to discuss the typical timeline of a personal injury case.
The Steps of a Personal Injury Process
The timeline of a personal injury case begins the moment an accident or injury occurs. The first step that an injury victim needs to take is to seek medical attention immediately. By seeking immediate medical attention, an injury victim is linking their injuries to the incident, giving them a stronger personal injury claim.
- Consult with an attorney. You should seek a free consultation with an attorney as soon as possible if you are injured by somebody else’s actions. An Orange County personal injury attorney will be able to outline all of the steps that you should take to secure maximum compensation.
- Investigation and medical records. With or without an attorney, you will need to gather all the evidence necessary to prove the liability of the other party. This includes any video or photo surveillance, any accident reports, and any statements from eyewitnesses. You will also need to gather all of your medical records for the treatment you have undergone so far.
- Filing an insurance claim and demanding a settlement. It is generally necessary to file a claim with the insurance carrier of the at-fault party, whether this is a car accident case, a slip and fall incident, or some other type of injury claim. Most personal injury cases are resolved through insurance carrier settlements, though insurance carriers can be notoriously difficult to deal with.
- Filing a lawsuit. If the insurance carriers deny a claim or fail to offer a fair amount in a settlement, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
- Discovery. The first step in a personal injury lawsuit will be the discovery phase in which both sides will continue to gather evidence and share this evidence with the other party. During this process, one or both sides will begin to realize the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. Often, a case is settled at this point.
- Mediation or arbitration. If neither side has reached a settlement, a judge may order the parties to undergo mediation or arbitration for their case. Again, most cases are settled before they go to trial.
- Trial. If the defendant in the case still does not offer a fair settlement, the case will go in front of a jury who will hear the evidence presented to them. A jury will then render their decision and decide on adequate compensation if necessary.
Cases that are resolved through insurance carriers before a lawsuit is filed will generally conclude much quicker than cases that officially proceed to litigation. A personal injury case settled through insurance carriers may last a few months or up to a year, but cases that go to trial may not be resolved for well over a year or more.
Regardless of the timeline for your particular personal injury case, it is incredibly important to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer. An attorney will have the experience and resources necessary to help you every step of the way. Your attorney can advise you as to what path is best for your case. While the timeline for a full trial may indeed be longer, the final settlement could be much higher depending on the facts of your particular case.