What Happens When a Personal Injury Claim Goes to Court?
July 24, 2019 Published in Personal Injury
Personal injury claims can become incredibly complex and will reach a settlement before they go to court or be decided in the courtroom. Not all personal injury claims go to court, and it is not uncommon for a case to be settled out of court.
A “settlement” is the negotiated resolution of a personal injury claim between your attorney and the other side’s legal team. In these cases, the person making the claim is offered a lump sum of money by the defendant (or their insurance company). If you agree to the amount, the case is over. Taking a settlement generally means you can no longer pursue damages in your case through a personal injury lawsuit.
Why would a case go to court as opposed to being settled?
Your attorney will help you decide whether to take your case to court, which will likely be advisable if:
- The settlement offer was below what you think you deserve or could get in court.
- You are not offered a settlement from the negligent party.
You cannot predict what kind of damages you will be awarded if you take your case to court. It could be significantly more than a settlement offer. However, it could also be less than the offered settlement, or you could lose the case and get nothing. Your personal injury attorney will advise you of the strength of your case when making the decision about whether or not to move forward.
There will be various phases to your case if you opt to go before a judge or jury. If could take months for your case to be scheduled before the court. Your case will include:
- A discovery phase
- Multiple hearings
- A verdict from the judge or jury
It is important for you to recognize that paperwork for these cases can be incredibly confusing, and there are strict deadlines in these court cases. A personal injury lawyer understands these factors and will ensure your case moves forward without delays while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
How long does a personal injury claim take?
Personal injury claims can become complicated depending on the cause of the accident and the type of injuries sustained. Because of those factors, it is hard to predict the timeline for a personal injury claim.
The statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim varies depending on what type of injury is sustained, but there is generally a two-year limit to file a claim from the date an injury occurs or is discovered. For medical malpractice claims, there is a maximum four-year time limit from the time of the injury regardless of when the injury is discovered.
Most personal injury cases that are settled out of court conclude within six months of the date of the accident, though this can vary according to case specifics. If a case goes to trial, the personal injury case could take a year or longer to complete.
What are some common causes of personal injuries?
No two personal injury cases are the same, and they happen in a variety of ways. However, some of the most common causes of personal injuries include:
- Injuries that occur on private or public property
- Motor-Vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical mistakes
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Child injuries
- Combine accidents
- School accidents
- Defective products
Regardless of how a personal injury occurs, it is vital that you seek medical treatment and take the steps necessary to ensure you are not on the line for the expenses.