No two personal injury cases are alike. It is possible that your case could be settled in a matter of weeks or a matter of years depending on the circumstances in your unique lawsuit. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that go into determining how long it may take to resolve your case.
Do You Know Who Hurt You?
It is almost impossible to file a lawsuit against someone if you don’t know who that person is. There are many reasons why you may not know who hurt you. For instance, you may not recognize the vehicle that hit you while you were walking your dog or the driver who hit you even if you saw his or her face. You may also be hurt in the middle of the night or by someone wearing a mask, which could make identification difficult. Unless you know who hurt you, it could take an indefinite amount of time before he or she is caught.
Is the Guilty Party Taking Responsibility?
Just because you know who hurt you doesn’t mean that he or she will admit to any wrongdoing. In some cases, an individual doesn’t want to pay you what you are owed after an accident, and not admitting guilt may be a stalling tactic in an effort to frustrate you. It is also possible that the attorney for the person who hurt you is advising his or her client to deny responsibility in an effort to win a favorable outcome from a judge or jury.
Are You Going For a Settlement or Jury Trial?
While a settlement may take weeks or months to achieve, it can take many years to resolve a case through a formal trial. There are numerous ways that an attorney can ask for a case to be delay, and with limited dates on the docket, it could be weeks or months before the case resumes. A judge may also decide that mediation or some other form of negotiation is preferable to litigation, which may add more time to your case whether or not you intend to settle before a trial begins.
How Bad Are Your Injuries?
You may need to give a statement or otherwise participate in your case in some manner. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it may be a long time before you feel up to talking to attorneys or anyone else. In the event that you are in a coma or unlikely to be able to communicate, your family may represent your interests alongside your attorney. However, that could lead to questions over whether a particular family member has standing and other procedural matters.
Are There Appeals?
A jury verdict is only the first step in the process of resolving a case after a trial concludes. It is possible that the other side will appeal or that a judge will reduce the amount of the award given. In the event that the judge reduces the verdict, your lawyer may appeal and keep the case going even longer. Again, it could be months or years before all appeals are exhausted depending on how far you want or need to take the case.
How Is the Settlement Structured?
If there is a settlement in your case, there may still be haggling over how it will be structured. There may also be arguments over what type of confidentiality clause may be included and other details that must be considered. Therefore, even if both sides agree who was at fault, it could still take time to hammer out the full terms of a settlement.
There is no way to determine how long your case will take to be resolved. While your attorney may be able to take steps to speed the case along, all parties need to work together to get a timely resolution. If you are looking for a speedy settlement, you may ask to be offered a settlement immediately, which you can accept and close the case in your favor.