Most people who have been involved in a personal injury case agree that resolving the matter can never come too soon. That is understandable, as the disruption that a legal case will cause in the lives of everyone involved can be very unwelcome. The sooner you are able to get back to life as usual, the better. How long that will take depends on several factors, none of which can be predicted with great certainty. However, your personal injury lawyer in Rogers can familiarize you with the normal timeline for certain types of claims.
Typical resolution of a personal injury claim
Generally speaking, a lawsuit involving a basic injury, such as a rear-end traffic accident, will take several months to a year to resolve. After the complaint is filed in court, the parties engage in “discovery” which is basically the gathering of evidence. That usually takes a few months at least. Once that has been completed, the parties will typically file motions with the court regarding the sufficiency of the evidence. This takes a few months, as well. Once the court determines that the case can proceed to trial, the parties are given time to prepare their cases for trial. The trial itself can take a week or more.
Legal issues that may affect resolution of your case
It is not uncommon for a personal injury case to be a little more complicated, depending on the legal issues involved, which may delay the resolution of the case. There are two very common legal issues that will always need to be addressed: liability and causation. Determining and then proving who is at fault for a personal injury is not always cut and dry.
There may also be issues regarding whether your injuries were actually caused by the accident, and whether your injuries are as serious as you say they are. Expert witnesses are often obtained in order to provide testimony on these very important issues. If these issues are particularly complicated, then the case may take much longer to resolve.
The nature and extent of injuries
Another factor that often affects the resolution of a personal injury case is the type and nature of the injuries claimed by the victim. By their nature, some injuries required a certain amount of time to fully manifest themselves. Otherwise, you will not be able to determine exactly how severe the injury is. For instance, soft tissue injuries (such as bruises, strains, and sprains), will characteristically heal completely in six months or less, depending on how severe they are. But other, more severe injuries, may require extensive treatment and recovery, which takes time.
In order to obtain full recovery, you need to wait until you have either fully recovered, or recovered sufficiently that your doctor will release you from care. In some cases, you may only be able to reach what is referred to as “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), which means your injuries have healed as much as they are likely going to. Any remaining problems will probably be considered permanent.
Establishing proof of other losses
In addition to proving your physical injuries, you also need to gather evidence of any other losses you sustained. This is another component of proving your damages. This will typically include all medical records and bills for your medical treatment related to your injuries. You also need to obtain evidence of any lost wages or other out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred as a result of the injuries you suffered.
In some cases, it could take several months to obtain copies of all of these records, especially from health care providers. However, without this documentation, it is essentially impossible to negotiate with an insurance company regarding a possible settlement of your claims or to prove your damages at trial.
Can my personal injury lawyer in Rogers settle my claim?
In most cases, a settlement is possible when either the insurance carrier or the defendant makes an offer of payment before liability has been proven. The offer of settlement can even occur before the lawsuit is actually filed in court. In reality, a settlement can occur at any point before a jury has reached a verdict in the case, or before the court enters an order dismissing the case. Your personal injury lawyer in Rogers can help you determine whether a proposed settlement is fair and reasonable based on your claims.
If you have questions regarding litigation of personal injury claims, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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