How Long Does It Take To Resolve An Auto Claim?
Timeframe for Resolving A Personal Injury Auto Accident Case....
The question is how long does it take for a personal injury case to resolve? Most people who are injured in an automobile accident case feel it takes forever for their case to resolve. There are many steps to a personal injury case and it is important to understand them.
- The first step is you have been involved in an automobile accident and you seek to bring a claim against another party. This will usually involve you meeting with your auto accident lawyer who will type up and put written form what happened in the accident, the basis for believing the other party was negligent, an estimation of your injuries, and what the value of your case is worth. Once he or she does that they will send to the insurance company of the person who hit you or caused you injuries a demand package, which is their formal request to ask that insurance company to compensate you with money for your damages.
- If that is not successful, your car accident lawyer is left with filing a law suit. Once the law suit is filed, a law process in sues.
- The first process is the discovery process. During that time your auto accident lawyer will advise you there are certain things that you must answer. You must answer questions that the insurance company lawyers ask of you in affirmative defenses that you may write. Answers to interrogatories which are questions they will ask, providing them prior information about any medical treatment that you have had, prior medical records, currently medical records, and copies of X-Rays or MRI films you have had during your treatment. All this takes place during the discovery process, which is when both sides discover what evidence you have to support your claim of negligence.
- After you go through the discovery process, the next stage is the deposition process. A deposition is a fancy term for taking sworn statements under oath. Prior to your deposition your car accident attorney will meet with you and explain to you the process. He or she will tell you that you will meet in someone’s office or in a court office, and that the other side’s lawyer will ask you many questions about how the accident occurred, what injuries you have, prior medical records, prior medical injuries you have had, and go through the entire gamin from the beginning to the end. During that time he or she will tell you it is important to be honest and give a straight answer to all the questions. Also, other witnesses to the accident will be deposed. This deposition process may take weeks, months, or even a year to resolve. After all the witnesses have been deposed, which are the folks involved in the accidents, any witnesses to the accident, maybe law enforcement officers who investigated the accident, and then the medical physicians will be deposed. Your doctor will have his or her deposition taken. Physicians who performed MRIs or other studies will have their deposition taken. And your personal injury attorney will have a chance to take a deposition of the physician that the insurance company intends to call if they want to refute your injuries. As you can see this process too takes some time.
- After all the discovery is complete and the depositions have been taken, most states also require you to have mandatory mediation. What this means is that you and your auto accident lawyer will go somewhere and meet with the insurance company’s lawyer and a representative, and you will mediate or attempt to resolve the case short of trial. During the mediation process a mediator will serve to go back and forth between both parties, pointing out the strengths of your case and the weaknesses of your case, and the advantages to you to resolve the case without spending the money on a trial.
If your case does not settle at mediation, your case will then be put on a trial docket. In most states the civil trial docket is a long process. Most criminal cases because of time limits occur much quicker. Civil cases may take months again or years to get set for trial. As you can see the beginning process of the accident to the time the case goes to trial may take up to two, to three, and sometimes five years to resolve. So when you ask your lawyer why it is taking so long, this will give you some insight as to know why.
The personal injury attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., are fighting for our clients rights in personal injury cases in Clearwater, Tampa, Bradenton, Spring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida.
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