When you’re in an accident that results in an injury, the most urgent question on your mind is, “how long will it take to receive my settlement?” Medical bills pile up, and your ability to work is usually affected. There is no clear-cut answer, however, since each personal injury trial is a unique experience. The circumstances, the people involved, and the available evidence are all factors that will affect the length of the case. It is important to begin the process as soon as possible so you have the best chance at a speedy trial.
How Long Will It Take?
There’s no easy answer to this question, and the specific factors of your case will make the length vary wildly. That said, the average personal injury case takes between one and two years. Occasionally the case will be over in a mere six months. This will be based on how quickly you can produce your evidence, how fast your injurer will respond, and how much litigation your case will require. To give you the best shot at a speedy resolution, let’s look at the steps needed for your personal injury claim to be resolved.
File An Insurance Claim Immediately
As soon as you are injured, it is important to start documenting the accident. Seek medical treatment right away and file away all the paperwork any medical professional gives you. Let your insurance company pay for any treatments and medications upfront, and wait for the settlement to pay them back.
Hire An Attorney
If the accident leaves you unable to work for more than a few days, or if your medical bills are substantial, it’s time to hire a lawyer. The at-fault party’s insurance company will send an army of investigators, claim adjusters, and medical professionals to verify every aspect of the injury. Hiring an attorney can be a helpful step in shoring up your side of the case. Your attorney will collect all of the required evidence and deal with the insurance company for you. This will be extremely helpful during the discovery process of the case.
The insurance company’s goal is to pay out the least amount possible and do so as quickly as possible. They want to avoid more documented complications that the initial injury may have caused. Follow-up surgeries and long-term physical therapy can mean a higher payout for the insurance company. Accepting their first offer is never advised. Instead, let your attorney negotiate and advise you on the long-term questions to ask your doctor. These negotiations can lengthen the process, but the potential benefits outweigh the negatives.
File Your Case
There is a statute of limitations on most personal injury cases in Ohio. This means you have a limited amount of time to negotiate with the insurance company and get the claim resolved or else a lawsuit must be filed. Suing the individual or company responsible for your injury may be required if the insurance company refuses to settle. Regardless of the reason, if you decide it is time to go to court, work with your lawyer and file the initial paperwork. Next, it is time for the discovery phase.
The Discovery Phase
Here is where all of your meticulous note keeping and documentation comes in handy. It is now time to prove to the court how this individual or company is responsible for your injury. This will be a lengthy process, as the court will attempt to dig up all the facts of the incident through police reports, medical records, and eyewitness testimony.
The trial is the final piece that this has all been leading to, and it concludes relatively quickly. Even with a jury, it is rare for a trial to take longer than a few weeks. The jury may conclude that you are a victim of negligent behavior and award you a large sum of money for your damages. It is important to remember that the defendant has the right to appeal the court’s decision, which is another way in which your settlement might be prolonged.
If you have been injured and are seeking a personal injury claim in Ohio, call Garretson & Holcomb, LLC at (513) 863-6600.