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Personal Injury Lawsuits

Date: April 4, 2011

This article shares some great advice from accident attorney, Aaron Crane from Cantor Crane with respect to the process of a personal injury case.  When a personal injury lawsuit is filed, there is a potential for a large settlement. Because of this, if a case is taken to court, the process can become quite extended. The insurance provider for the defendant will aggressively fight the case in an effort to reduce their obligation. With this in mind, anyone who files a lawsuit should be prepared for the amount of time it may take to settle the case.

On average, a personal injury lawsuit usually takes about two years to complete from the time that the initial Complaint is filed until a settlement is reached. However, if the case goes to trial, the time period can be much longer. Facts pertaining to the case, such as extent of injury, facts surrounding the accident and medical diagnoses of the injured victim can also extend the length of time that a case takes to settle.

Type and Extent of Injury

The injury you received and the treatment plan may cause your case to continue for an extended period of time. For example, if you injured your neck in an accident that was diagnosed as a strain or sprain, it may only take six or eight weeks for you to complete therapy. Once this therapy is completed, the insurer would have a better idea on how to settle your case. However, if you were involved in a very serious accident that required multiple surgeries and extensive therapy for you to recover, the insurer will wait until the doctor confirms that you have reached maximum recovery. This could take months.

Pretrial Procedures

When an initial Complaint is filed, both parties to the lawsuit will conduct Discovery. During this time, each side of the issue is gathering evidence, requesting documents, and conducting interviews with witnesses. Each side will also issue a set of Interrogatories (questions) to the other party to have completed. This can add one or more months to the time that it takes to complete your case. These steps are mandatory, so the time delay cannot be avoided.

Court Calendar

If your case is going to go to trial, another delay can be when you can get your case placed on the Court docket. Depending on your area, there may be several, if not hundreds of cases that must be heard before your case can be presented in Court. The average time to get a case placed on the docket is about 5 months. This will vary based on your area, court system, and the case load the Court is experiencing at the time you request a date.

Access to Witnesses

Access to witnesses can cause delays. You have to be able to schedule interviews with them around their schedules, not yours. While this lawsuit is very important to you, it may be an inconvenience to them. Witnesses can cause unexpected delays in any trial.

Cost of Litigation

Some delays can occur regarding the cost of litigation. Filing a lawsuit and all of the paperwork, taking statements, issuing subpoenas, reimbursing witnesses, and hiring experts can be very costly. In most cases, the injured party is already suffering financial hardships from not being able to return to work because of their injuries.

Many attorneys will cover these expenses for their clients and then take reimbursement for these costs when the case settles. However, if you are working with a small firm or single attorney, they may not have the resources to cover these expenses right away. This may delay your case as you have to wait until they can afford to pay for these items. Working with an established law firm can help you avoid these types of delays.

If You Have Been Injured in an Accident

If you have been injured in an accident, it is important that you understand that an insurance settlement will not occur right away. If an insurance company approaches you with a settlement offer within a few days of the event occurring, it may not be in your best interest to accept the offer. Many of these early offers do not include all of the forms of compensation you are entitled to under the law and the terms of their policies.

When you have been injured, it will be in your best interest to speak to an attorney about your rights. Your Arizona accident lawyer will work with you to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your losses.  Contact Cantor Crane today at (602) 254-2701.

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About the Author

Attorney James A. Abate practices Criminal Defense, DWI Defense, Business Litigation, Real Estate & Personal injury cases in Union County, New Jersey.