How Long Will It Take to Get Compensated for My Injuries?
Personal injury lawyers hear this question a lot. Usually, when someone is seriously injured in an automobile accident or through some other form of negligence, there are catastrophic financial and personal consequences. The victim may be dealing with lost income, may be out of work for months at a time, may be dealing with expensive medical bills, extended painful treatments, and may have little to no transportation to make appointments. Indeed, being injured can take a real toll on a person’s whole life and can create unbelievable strains on their family. So, it is no wonder people often ask, “When is this going to be over?”
You have to get medical care and attempt to get better. As the old saying goes, you often have to “hurry up and wait.” Hurry up and get care, then wait until you are in a position to make a reasonable and accurate demand for payment to the insurance company.
There are several reasons why personal injury claims take so long. First, let’s assume your case is not currently being litigated. If you are just in the early stages of your case, then you are probably just trying to get medical care for your injuries. Insurance companies rarely agree to pay a fair amount of compensation, and they are even less likely to pay if they don’t know the extent of your injuries. So, in general, you will have to get care and make sure your injuries are well documented. This can take months or even years in some cases.
If you are wise enough to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, your attorney will work to gather your medical records, billing statements, police reports, witness statements, and any other information that may support your case. This generally happens before any lawsuit is ever filed. Much of this process may be out of your lawyer’s control. For instance, a doctor’s office may have a backlog of requests for records or may be in the middle of a system upgrade that is making it difficult to turn over records in a timely fashion.
Litigation is Slow
If you end up filing a lawsuit in court, a judge now controls the timeline. It is no longer up to you and your attorney to decide when and how things will take place. While an experienced attorney can make the process much smoother, ultimately a judge’s calendar will determine how long your case is pending.
For instance, once you file a lawsuit, the judge will give the defendant and his or her attorneys time to respond. Then there will be a discovery schedule. This means the court will give each side a set amount of time to comply with lawful requests for documents, depositions, and other evidence that must be shared before the case can go to trial. This process is known as discovery, and it is often the longest part of a case. Doctors may require extended notice to schedule depositions.
Getting an Attorney Early in Your Case
If you are injured, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The earlier you contact an attorney, the sooner you can begin planning your actions to make your case go smoothly. Although the Florida Supreme Court requires trial court judges to manage their case dockets responsibly and “control the process,” most attorneys who handle civil litigation matters understand that this can be a double-edged sword.
Sometimes, an attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement without needing to file suit. This can greatly reduce the time it takes for you to be paid. In other cases, a lawsuit may be the only way to get justice for the victim.
The experienced attorneys of Roman & Roman have been protecting the rights of injured people throughout the Tampa Bay area for over 30 years. For a free case evaluation, call (877) 767-1032. Staff are ready to answer questions 24/7. You have nothing to lose by making the call.