Why Personal Injury Cases Take So Long
One of the most common questions personal injury attorneys face is the duration of the personal injury claim or “How long with my personal injury case last?” In most cases, quick solutions to a complex personal injury case may mean the client, the victim, has been cheated out of the full worth of their personal injury case. It is important to note getting the best result may sometimes take time in a personal injury case.
Full Compensation in your personal injury case may take time…
If you have ever wondered why your personal injury case is taking so much time before it is resolved and compensation is awarded, below are some of the major factors that can contribute to the holdup.
The basis of your personal injury claim is the presence of an injury that was sustained as a direct effect of the accident caused by the negligent party. Depending on the type of accident, time is of the essence in establishing the full extent of the injury. Time may mean a year, less, or more. During this “waiting period,” your orthopedist, physician, specialist, chiropractor or doctor will be able to determine the full medical extent of the accident and also the possibility of you healing completely from the injury sustained.
Time is necessary for medical practitioners to understand the full extent of the injuries sustained as this can help to determine whether the victim will require ongoing medical attention, a factor that will be considered as part of the amount demanded in compensation.
Taking time to understand the injury also puts the victim in a better position as settlements are final and any other delayed symptoms in the aftermath of a settlement may be to the detriment of the victim’s finances. Basically, you get one shot at settlement in a personal injury case and it is very important to know the full impact of your injuries and the long-term effects of your car accident injury.
Initial Settlement Discussions
Settlement discussions are initiated only after the full extent of the losses suffered by the victim have been determined. Prior to the settlement discussion, estimates for the property repair, medical records, medical bills and all other expenses incurred as a result of the accident are added to your claim which is submitted by the victim or your personal injury attorney alongside a letter of demand to the liable party or parties involved in the accident.
In most cases, there is always a back-and-forth process of negotiation that may take some time, especially as both parties at the end of the spectrum try to weigh the competence of one another. Sometimes, both parties involved, the claimant and the at-fault party, may be able to reach an agreement that will be validated by the court, or the process may break down and take the path of a personal injury claim lawsuit. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you evaluate your claims and determine the full extent of your damages.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit
When both parties are unable to reach an agreement, the victim can proceed to file a lawsuit. This lawsuit will detail all of the allegations against the at-fault party or parties concerning the accident and injuries sustained. Personal injury lawsuits are filed in district court where the accident happened or where the victim lives. It is crucial to file your personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs/expires, which is two (2) years in Oklahoma.
This period allows both parties the luxury of time to investigate the claims of each party named in the case. During the personal injury discovery process, attorneys on both sides will exchange disclosure statements and share information about to the case: injuries, medical records, accident information, policy coverage, and other information regarding the accident or injury. Both parties are required to verify all the information provided is accurate under oath, which is intended to insure fair play in all civil cases, including personal injury cases and specifically car accident injury cases.
Depositions will be scheduled in every personal injury lawsuit, which is where the attorneys for one party ask questions under oath of involved parties, i.e. the victim, the at-fault driver, not at-fault driver, and other relevant witnesses, such as experts. Those injured in the lawsuit or accident case, specifically car accident victims will be asked questions under oath about pre-existing injuries, treatment, any former lawsuits, personal history, and other impacts of the accident or personal injury case. The deposition will have the victim and his/her legal counsel, a court reporter, and the at-fault party’s legal counsel present. Depositions are a very important part of prosecuting your personal injury / car accident lawsuit. It is vital to have an experienced personal injury attorney or car accident attorney represent you through this process to protect your claims.
Ahead of your personal injury trial, attorneys are allowed to file all manners of motions that can object to certain testimony or evidence to be presented by the opposing counsel or present legal arguments. In some cases, attorneys of the at-fault party may seek to have the case dismissal on grounds of lack of concrete evidence to prove liability.
The number of motions filed in a personal injury lawsuit may also affect the timeline of the case and/or the evidence you may present in your personal injury case at jury trial.
Mediation and Settlement
Mediations are often scheduled before a personal injury lawsuit is put to a jury; however, that is not always the case. During the personal injury mediation process, a neutral party, typically an experienced personal injury lawyer, is appointed to serve as a mediator with the aim to get both parties to settle the case. During personal injury mediation, the parties to the personal injury lawsuit present their case to the mediator, similar to presenting the personal injury case to a judge, and the mediator will engage both parties in a dialogue and ask questions about the strengthens and weaknesses of their personal injury case. The mediator’s goal is typically to reach a resolution that may be comparable to the outcome at trial; however, a mediated result or agreed result has certainty unlike a jury trial.
In some cases, arbitration may be warranted. Arbitration in a personal injury case is more substantial than mediation. Both parties present their personal injury case, as if it were the trial, including evidence, affidavits of witnesses and other evidence in support of or opposition to the personal injury lawsuit and the arbitrator decides the outcome of the personal injury lawsuit. The arbitration may be enforceable, binding arbitration or may be advisory, non-binding arbitration. Either way, arbitration is a deep dive into the claims and evidence in a personal injury lawsuit and often resolves the personal injury dispute without the expense and uncertainty of a personal injury jury trial.
Trial in court
If an agreement cannot be reached by both parties during the course of a personal injury lawsuit or specifically mediation, then the personal injury case will proceed to jury trial. The jury in a personal injury lawsuit will decide the liability of the at-fault party and fair compensation to be paid to the victim or in some cases will determine the alleged at-fault party is not responsible for the injury or accident, i.e. they were not negligent, and the plaintiff will not be awarded damages. The trial process can last a few days or may extend over a longer period of time. Throughout a personal injury jury trial, the judge will make decisions about legal arguments or issues presented by both parties’ personal injury attorneys; however, in the end the decision on fault and damages is in the hands of the jury.
Contact an experienced attorney – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates for Personal Injury
Handling the strains of a personal injury accident as well as the demands of the legal process can be overwhelming. At Cannon & Associates, we have the right attorneys who are willing to deliver fierce advocacy to you in your personal injury case.
Cannon & Associates is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for accident victims and will fight to protect your interests and uphold your rights. Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and Top 40 under 40. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at (405) 906-4051 for a free confidential case evaluation.