Being hurt in an accident as a result of another person’s negligence is incredibly frustrating. You’re left with medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering as you recover. On top of that, you may be unable to work or provide for your family due to the extent of your injuries. However, you have rights and legal options to claim compensation for your damages.
In a personal injury case, victims can get monetary compensation for the losses they incurred after the accident. You can hold the negligent person accountable for their carelessness and get the financial support you deserve by taking legal action.
But how long does this process take? When can you expect to get a settlement? Our Indiana personal injury attorney team at Trapp Law, LLC explains.
What Is the Average Personal Injury Claim Timeline?
There is no set time frame for settling personal injury cases. The average time it takes to settle a personal injury claim can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the case. For more complex cases that involve catastrophic injuries, the timeline to settle the case can take several months or even years.
However, personal injury claims involving minor injuries and limited property damage will usually reach a resolution within six weeks to six months. If victims choose to work with an injury attorney, they may settle sooner because lawyers know what steps to take and how to negotiate a fair settlement based on the damages.
Who qualifies to bring a personal injury case?
To bring a personal injury claim, there are a few legal requirements you must meet. In general, there must be some type of personal injury as a result of another party’s negligence. Here are the basic requirements of a personal injury case:
- Personal Injury – The victim sustained an injury, which can be a physical injury, mental injury, or emotional suffering, as a result of the accident.
- Negligence – You must be able to prove that the responsible party failed to take reasonable care, which caused the injury.
If you were hurt in an accident, you may qualify to claim compensation for your damages. Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to see if you have a case and what your claim may be worth.
How do you win a personal injury case?
For your personal injury case to be successful, you must prove the four elements of negligence:
- Presence of a Duty – Did the defendant have a duty to the victim? Example: A driver on the road has a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty – If there was a duty, did the defendant breach it? Example: The driver has a duty to drive at the speed limit but failed to comply.
- Causation – There must be proof that the breach of duty led to the accident. You must be able to prove the connection between the defendant’s actions (or lack of action) and the victim’s injuries.
- Damages – The victim must also have recoverable damages as a result of the accident, such as compensatory or punitive damages. In other words, the victim suffered financial harm due to their injuries.
The stronger your case, the more likely the insurance company will agree to the maximum settlement for your injuries and suffering. However, it’s crucial that you claim the full value of your damages to get the compensation you deserve.
What damages can you recover through a personal injury case?
As an accident victim, you have a right to claim compensation for the losses you suffered as a result of negligence. Some types of damages you can include in your personal injury claim are:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional anguish
In some cases, you may also claim punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant for particularly harmful behavior. Ask your lawyer if you qualify to include punitive damages in your claim.
What factors can affect how long it takes to settle a personal injury case?
Several factors can affect the length of time it takes to settle your personal injury claim. In general, the more severe the injuries, the more complex the case and the longer it will take to reach a fair settlement.
Some factors that can prolong the process include:
- How many parties are involved? A settlement can take longer if several people are involved in the claim. Proving negligence and assigning fault requires collecting evidence and building the case around multiple parties.
- What types of damages did the victim claim? Some losses are easier to calculate, such as medical bills and car repair costs. However, pain and suffering, future medical costs, and other damages take time to value properly.
- Are all parties cooperating? Unfortunately, many insurance companies take their time when it comes to settling a claim. There may also be other parties who take several weeks to respond or submit the required documents.
- What injuries did the victim sustain? Some injuries are less predictable and harder to value. For example, a spinal injury or soft tissue injury can take years to heal. It’s essential to understand the extent of care you’ll need in the future and include those expenses in your claim.
In the end, the victim decides to either accept or reject a settlement offer. The insurance company’s first offer usually minimizes the victim’s losses and pressures a victim to settle because they need financial support. However, working with a personal injury attorney means you have an experienced advocate on your side who can fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
A personal injury lawyer understands the law and the tactics insurance companies use to try to minimize a settlement. They will handle everything throughout the case, including:
- Collecting evidence
- Building a strong case
- Communication with the insurance company
- Negotiating the maximum settlement
- Taking your case to court, if necessary
If you need an Indiana personal injury lawyer with the skills and experience to help you get justice after an accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation.