A personal injury in legal terms refers to the physical, mental, and emotional injury inflicted on an individual owing to the failure of duty, breach of promise, or actions of another individual, entity, organization, or a governmental agency. The intensity of a personal injury can vary from a minor slip and fall to something as major as the death of the one involved. Car accident cases to medical malpractices, defamation cases to dog bites, personal injury can take many forms.
Unlike other criminal cases, personal injury cases are generally resolved between the concerned parties with the assistance of insurers and attorneys or in some cases, without the involvement of a third party. As per research studies, about 95% of the cases are settled outside the court of law.
However, the individual affected or the plaintiff has the right to formalize the case through filing a lawsuit. In such cases, it is highly recommended to appoint an experienced lawyer to deal with the procedural complexities of the case tactfully. Tucson lawyers are highly experienced in handling personal injury cases of all types.
Settling a personal injury case can take anywhere between weeks to years depending on a number of parameters. The more complex a case is, the difficult it is to expect a quick settlement. The harder it is to prove the authenticity of evidence, the longer the settlement takes.
The entire process, right from the stage of hiring a lawyer till the point the plaintiff receives the settlement, or the compensation amount can be presented in brief as below:
- Hire a lawyer if your case is not minor. A case can be considered serious if there is any significant physical injury, if it involves a considerable economic loss, say in terms of loss of productivity or inability to go for work, and if the case is expected to stretch for a long period of time.
- Next step is informing the other party or the defendant that you want to file a lawsuit. Next, come the initial stage f documentations and procedural formalities.
- The process of exploring the case and establishing the evidence usually takes the maximum time. This stage includes digging the facts, investigations, research and evidence gathering to strengthen the case. Medical reports and insurance formalities also need to be taken care of.
- As the lawsuit gets filed, the court of law takes its own time to settle a case. Arguments from the plaintiff and the defendant will occur. Finally, after the verdict is out, the defendant may either chose to settle the amount of compensation or appeal for a new trial.
- If the plaintiff wins the case, a collection of the awarded amount begins.
Why does a personal injury case take the time it takes to be closed? The answer to this question depends on a number of factors.
- If a case is formalized through a lawsuit, then this itself implies that the case will take a considerable time to settle owing to the involvement of a good number of formalities and procedures.
- The complexity of the case is a crucial determinant. If your case is simple, say it’s a slip and fall case or a minor road accident, then it is expected to close quickly. However, if it’s a complex one, say a case of medical malpractice or a major accident causing traumatic physical and emotional injury, then it ought to take a Signiant time for closure.
- If the liability of the defendant is hard to prove or if it is hard to establish that the defendant was actually at fault, then this can be time-consuming.
- How badly the plaintiff is hurt, is another major determining factor. In one case, a teenage set an adolescent on fire. The adolescent has suffered almost 100% burns. After around 7 years, the victim died out of skin cancer. In such a case, it is hard to establish whether the burns were the reason for cancer. This is why it is advisable to seek medical attention as soon as an incident happens. The earlier you seek medical treatment and get the reports done, the stronger your case becomes. Any delay or negligence is seeking medical attention can take the case against you, as it would be argued that you weren’t injured enough to seek help.
- It is said that if you choose to settle for lesser compensation, the quicker will your case get settled. So, if your monetary damages are huge or if a significant amount of money is involved in the case, then the chances are that your case will take time to settle.
- Maximum medical improvement, simply put, if you are still under treatment for the injuries, then you have to wait till you recover, as the more you recover, the lesser is your compensation amount.
Above all, if the other party is not willing to settle, then the case might just go on. So, have strong evidence and an experienced legal expert by your side before you file a lawsuit!