Why Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Take So Long?

Why Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Take So Long?

Settling a personal injury lawsuit can take months or years, which is a long time for an accident victim to wait. For many reasons, one lawsuit may take more or less time to resolve than another. Most injured plaintiffs prefer to settle quickly. But often, the longer we fight, the more compensation we can win. Are you looking for the best personal injury lawyer near you in California? We’ll look at the general timeline of a lawsuit and factors that can influence the length of your case.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

While there’s no typical timeline for a personal injury case, understanding the process can help estimate how long a case might take. But remember, each stage can take anywhere from days to years. The stages of the legal process include:

  • Initial Investigation: Your personal injury lawyer, along with the insurance adjuster, will evaluate evidence such as photos of the accident and your injuries, medical records, accident reports, employment records, damage estimates, and witness statements.
  • Demand Letter Preparation: After compiling evidence, your lawyer will draft a demand letter stating the value of your claim and requesting a specified compensation amount. The insurance company then has a required timeframe to respond.
  • Negotiations: Negotiating with the insurance company can require several rounds of back-and-forth discussions. Some claims end after one round of negotiations. However, your lawyer can reject an offer and continue to fight on your behalf.
  • File a Lawsuit: If the insurance company continues to make lowball offers or does not cooperate, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The defendant has a deadline to respond to the petition and summons. Otherwise, they could face a default judgment.
  • Discovery: During a formal discovery process, your lawyer and the defendant’s attorney exchange information. Their communications can include requests for legal arguments, evidence, and identification of witnesses.
  • Trial: If the matter isn’t resolved during a pre-trial conference in court or a settlement isn’t otherwise agreed upon, the case may proceed to a jury trial. Both sides present their evidence, arguments, and witnesses. A jury verdict determines liability and the damages awarded. If the plaintiff loses, they may receive no compensation.

What Factors Affect the Length of a Lawsuit?

It’s hard to predict how long any part of the legal process will take. A personal injury lawyer near Los Angeles can use many strategies and address any issue. Here are some factors that can impact the length of your case:

  • Difficulty Proving Liability or Harm: An insurance company won’t likely offer a reasonable settlement if you struggle to prove the defendant caused your injuries. It can also hurt your case if a physician can’t link your injuries directly to the accident. Factual disputes regarding fault, or the cost of medical care and lost wages, can delay a case as well.
  • Ongoing Medical Treatment: You can be compensated for past and future medical expenses. Compensation for serious injuries can be hard to value until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. Therefore, your lawyer may wait until you heal or recover as much as possible to determine how much compensation to ask for.
  • Case Complexity: Car accident cases are often less complex than, for example, medical malpractice cases, and thus take less time to resolve. But any case involving multiple defendants, severe injuries, and more complex legal issues can take longer.
  • A Large Sum of Money: If the plaintiff’s side demands a lot of money, the insurance company will try to prolong the case. They’ll continue to attack your credibility and try to tire you out. Insurance companies know severely injured accident victims may not want to wait long. Eventually, they might make a reasonable offer, but that can take time.

However, the case may settle more quickly if your demand for compensation falls within the defendant’s insurance policy limits.

  • Your Lawyer Is Working on a Higher Settlement: A delay in your settlement can come from your attorney. They may seek additional evidence or expert witnesses who can testify regarding the nature of your injury or the extent of your financial losses. Eyewitness accounts can also help increase the value of your claim.
  • Court Scheduling: A backlog in the court’s schedule can delay the start of a trial. This also pushes back the settlement conference and other hearings. The defendant can use this to their advantage, hoping you’ll give in and accept a smaller settlement.
  • The Defendant’s Delay Tactics: The defendant’s side can cause delays in the process. One strategy is to use financial pressure. By refusing to settle early, they can take advantage of your financial strains, assuming the more time goes on, the more desperate you’ll become. 

In short, the defendant will try to convince you to accept less money. Ways to do this include making it difficult to be served with a lawsuit, filing frivolous claims/defenses, making their financial assets less accessible, refusing to comply with discovery requests, or postponing key meetings. 

Call Jacob for a Free Consultation

At The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, our seasoned personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles have the experience to take on any insurance company. We’ve won many settlements into the millions of dollars for our clients. In addition, our team understands every aspect of the legal process and the hurdles that can arise along the way. Our focus is on winning the settlement you deserve and we’ll do everything it takes to get there. To schedule your free consultation, call (888) 952-2952.

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