Personal Injury Case Timeline
Clients often ask how long a personal injury claim takes. It’s an understandable question. No one wants their claim dragged out. The cost of injuries alone can quickly drain a person’s income. The sooner the settlement, the better. Right?
The truth is that the personal injury claim timeline is different for every client. The facts of each case are unique. There’s no way to guarantee how an insurance company will respond to a settlement demand. However, an experienced personal injury attorney from Kocian Law Group can outline the claims process for you so that you understand the factors that can impact the length of an injury case in Connecticut.
For specific details about your own personal injury claim, call or contact our law firm for a free consultation.
What Should I Do Immediately After An Accident?
The aftermath of an accident can be stressful and chaotic, especially when someone has been injured. Knowing what to do in the moments afterward can protect your health as well as your legal rights.
- Seek medical treatment: Check for injuries, both to yourself and any others who may have been harmed. In emergency situations, call 911. Make sure to follow up with your doctor as soon as possible to check for any undetected injuries and to avoid making existing injuries worse. Proof of prompt medical treatment is a key part of all personal injury claims.
- Contact law enforcement: No matter the type of accident, it’s a good idea to contact the police. An officer can make a report of the scene, which can include contact information for everyone involved. The report may also indicate the officer’s opinion of who is at fault for the accident.
- Contact a trusted Connecticut personal injury lawyer: Aside from the police, you may not know who should be notified after an accident. It depends on the type of accident that injured you. For example, a job injury would need to be reported to your employer. Property owners would need to be notified of a slip and fall accident on their premises. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you contact the appropriate parties and insurance companies after reviewing your case.
Meeting with a lawyer quickly can get your claim underway as soon as possible. Whether that will shorten the timeline of a personal injury claim will depend on the facts of the case and how it evolves from there.
Steps to Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer
Many accident victims wait weeks or months to contact a personal injury lawyer. It could be that the injuries are so severe that meeting with a lawyer could be impractical or impossible.
In other cases, adjusting to life after an injury can be so hectic that the idea of contacting a lawyer feels overwhelming. However, there are important reasons why we advise victims to act quickly, such as:
- There are time limits to file a personal injury claim: In Connecticut, most personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. However, the deadline may be extended if the cause of the injury was not discovered until later. There may also be different time limits if a government entity is involved. Failure to initiate a claim by the deadline could bar your right to compensation forever, so contacting a lawyer as soon as possible can prevent you from losing out by waiting too long.
- Evidence can be lost or erased: The success of a personal injury claim depends on your ability to prove that someone else is at fault for your injuries. That means you need strong evidence. A lawyer can launch an independent investigation into your claim as soon as he/she is hired. This can prevent key evidence from disappearing.
- For example, trucking companies are not required to keep documents like driver logbooks and trip paperwork indefinitely. These pieces of evidence can be critical to the success of a truck accident claim. Hiring a lawyer swiftly can help ensure this information is preserved.
- A lawyer can take over all insurance negotiations for you: Insurance adjusters move fast. It’s in their financial interest to settle claims as quickly as they can. That often comes from making settlement offers far below what victims truly deserve. Once you hire a personal injury attorney, he/she can take over all talks with the insurance company for you. This prevents you from falling into any of their traps to delay, deny, or diminish your claim for compensation.
- A skilled personal injury attorney will know when to demand a settlement: In serious injury cases, the ultimate outlook for a victim may not be known for some time. A qualified lawyer will wait until a doctor indicates that the patient has recovered as much as can be expected (sometimes called maximum medical improvement, or MMI), before making a settlement demand. Doing so will ensure that the demand accounts for anticipated future expenses and losses. Settle too soon, and you might miss out on critical compensation to support you moving forward.
Though it’s important to contact an attorney soon after an accident, it’s also important for you to find the lawyer that’s right for you. We suggest interviewing at least three attorneys before deciding on one. Taking the time to find the best lawyer for you will not drastically change the timeline of your personal injury claim.
Accident Investigation Process
The length of your case can be affected by how much evidence is needed to support your claim. For example, a two-car accident claim will likely require much less evidence than a medical malpractice case. Your lawyer, as well as the insurance adjusters or attorneys on the opposing side, will both be collecting evidence to support their arguments.
Experienced personal injury attorneys have many weapons in their arsenal to combat challenges from the other side. A well-trained legal team can pull in a network of experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists, forensic investigators, doctors, life care planners, and vocational representatives who can testify to the severity of the accident and how the injuries will affect your life.
During an investigation, a lawyer will also gather witness statements to substantiate your claim and look for other evidence, such as video surveillance, that may show how the accident occurred.
Depending on how aggressively the at-fault party disputes your claims, an accident investigation could take a few weeks or considerably longer, especially if the claim is set for trial.
The ideal outcome for any personal injury claim is to reach a full and fair resolution through settlement negotiations. Most of the time, this is exactly what happens.
Settlement negotiations begin with a demand letter. Your lawyer will place a value on your case and send a letter for that amount to the insurance company or appropriate party. They have the option of accepting, rejecting, or making a counter-offer to the demand. If you receive a counter-offer, you can choose to accept or make your own counter-offer. Negotiations will continue on until a fair settlement is reached, or until both parties agree that they have reached a stalemate. At that point, you and your personal injury lawyer will discuss the risks and benefits of taking the case to trial.
The trial process begins with the filing of a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit may go through several phases:
- Discovery: This is a more thorough investigation of the case. Each side can ask the other party for important information, depose witnesses, and subpoena information. This gives both sides a chance to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the other’s case. Negotiations may continue throughout the discovery process or once discovery has come to an end. It can take as long as six months to one year for the discovery process to conclude, depending on the court’s deadlines and the facts of the case.
- Mediation: Connecticut law allows disputing parties to try a form of alternative dispute resolution called mediation. During mediation, an unbiased third party will try to facilitate a settlement agreement between both sides.
- Trial: When all other options are exhausted, the trial will begin. There is no way to determine how long a trial will take. Some are decided on by a judge or jury in just one day, while others may take weeks or even years to resolve.
At Kocian Law Group, you can rest assured that our lawyers aggressively pursue settlements on behalf of our clients. Like you, we understand how critical compensation can be. However, we prepare every case as if it is going to trial. We will do everything in our power to shorten the length of your case while fighting for the best possible results.
What Could Make My Case Take Longer to Settle?
There are a few factors that can cause a personal injury case to take longer to settle, such as:
- The severity of the injury: Victims with serious injuries take longer to reach maximum medical improvement. A claim should not be filed until they have reached that point.
- Challenges: The timeline will lengthen if the other side is fighting hard to deny liability.
- Missing information: Your lawyer will need time to resolve any holes or inconsistencies in your personal injury claim.
- A lot of money is at stake: If your damages number in the millions, you can bet that the opposing side will be doing everything possible to dispute your claim.
No matter what obstacles you encounter, a great personal injury lawyer will have a strategy in place to handle them. Most importantly, your attorney will advise you about your best course of action and only take the steps that you are comfortable with.
How Can My Lawyer Speed Up the Personal Injury Settlement Process?
The main way that your attorney can help expedite your claim is by being an effective negotiator. Lawyers know the tactics that insurance companies use in an attempt to limit their own liability. With those strategies in mind, your attorney can build a solid claim that will refute those challenges from the start. This can save time by giving insurers fewer alternatives to use when arguing their case.
We try to keep things convenient for our clients. All five of 0ur locations are easily accessible, we have a drive-through so you can easily drop off and pick up paperwork, and ultimately these things make personal injury claims move forward at a quicker rate as well.
How Can Kocian Law Group Help Me?
If you were hurt in an accident caused by someone else, the proven personal injury attorneys at Kocian Law Group will fight for you to receive maximum compensation in a timely way.
Contact us or chat with us online to schedule a free consultation.